Laser Surgery for Degenerative Disc Disease
Between the bones of the spine are discs meant to cushion the bones from their movement. These discs have a tendency to lose moisture and buoyancy over time, and when they do it can cause the discs to become weak, brittle, and damaged. It is an especially common problem for seniors.
This condition is known as “degenerative disc disease” even though it is not actually a disease. DDD causes pain in the back, legs, neck, and shoulders much like other types of spinal pain, but may also have:
- Increased pain when sitting or standing.
- Increased pain when lifting or carrying.
- Decreased pain when shifting to other positions.
Like with most types of back and neck conditions, the exact pain depends on a combination of the location and how the injury manifests. Because it is a degenerative condition, it tends to get worse over time. There is often not that much you can do to control it, but smoking and obesity can play a role. It is uncommon for degenerative disc disease to affect the thoracic (mid/upper back) spine first. Most of the time it affects the lower back and neck area.
There are several minimally invasive treatments for degenerative disc disease that we may consider, including spinal fusion, discectomy, and facet thermal ablation. All of these are possible with laser spine and minimally invasive treatments.