Desiccated Disc Overview

Disc desiccation refers to the drying out of your inter-vertebral discs. These discs act as cushions for the vertebrae (bones) in your spine. They have a tough outer shell and a softer gel like inside. Think of them as the shock absorbers of the spine helping when we walk, run, or jump. A desiccated disc is often the first stage of spinal degenerative disease, as the discs would no longer provide the proper cushioning that is needed in-between the vertebra.

As we age the fluid in our discs evaporates or slowly leaks out. Everyone to some extent will experience some sort of disc desiccation during their lifetime and most patients that are treated for disc desiccation are 60 years of age or older.

Another cause of disc desiccation can be from repeated strains or injuries to the same area as well as trauma. When this is the main cause it will be seen in younger patients who generally fall into the age bracket of 30 to 50 years.

Over half of the cases of disc desiccation are due to aging the rest are attributed to injuries to the spine.

As you can see this problem can affect quite a number of people from varying age groups. All types of back pain should be treated very seriously so as not to cause further problems later on in life. Many conditions have a high probability of healing quicker during the initial phase and if left to become worse the available treatment options diminish.

Symptoms of Disc Desiccation May Include the Following

  • Lower back pain that is worse when sitting for periods of time. While in the seated position the lower back will have three time more load on it then while standing
  • Pain that will worsen when you bend, lift or make a twisting motion
  • There will be Less pain when you walk or even run, then when you have been sitting or standing in one place for a long period of time
  • You will notice that if you change positions frequently or you lie down, it relieves the pressure on your spine that is causing your pain
  • Periods of severe pain that will come and go, this will range from a mild pain that can be ignored to something that is so severe it is disabling leaving you frozen in shock until it passes
  • Numbness in your extremities

It is important that you treat any back or neck pain seriously. If your pain persists you may wish to speak to your doctor.

Desiccated Disc Symptoms That Require Immediate Medical Attention

  • pain that is getting worse
  • disabling pain
  • leg weakness or numbness
  • loss of bowel or bladder control


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