Degenerative Disc Disease Specialist in NJ
Many patients that come to NJOI with a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease have more questions for us than we do for them. Degenerative disc disease describes pain symptoms and weaknesses or numbness that are the results of a degenerated disc in the spine. It’s one of the most common causes of lower back pain, as well as neck pain.
As the human body ages, our spinal discs will break down. Over time, our body begins to be unable to retain as much water as in the past, and one area that is affected severely is the spinal disc. The loss of fluids in the disc reduces the disc’s ability to act as a shock absorbent material, and reduces the disc’s flexibility. As the disc loses fluid, it also decreases in thickness, narrowing the distance between the vertebrae. Small cracks or tears in the disc can allow the jellylike material housed in the disc to be forced out through the openings. Those who smoke cigarettes, as well as those who work in a position where repeated heavy lifting is necessary, are most at risk for developing degenerative disc disease symptoms.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease are often attributed to other, shorter term, injuries, until the pain in the back or neck has become so regular that the patient receives a proper diagnosis. If a disc has begun to degenerate, pain will be experienced nearby the affected disc. Lower back disc degeneration will result in back, buttock, or leg pain, while upper back disc degeneration will cause pain in the neck or arm. In some cases, numbness or tingling in your leg or arm, depending on the location of the disc affected, may be experienced.
When flare ups occur due to degenerative disc disease, the main goal is to manage the pain caused by the disease. At the onset of pain, an ice regiment paired with OTC anti-inflammatories will be the best help. Once the pain has been controlled and managed properly, NJOI recommends beginning a back pain exercise program paired with a rehabilitation program. These activities will help to strengthen the muscles in the back and shoulders that support the spine, as well as to decrease the chance of spinal mobility decreasing. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended. Depending on the severity and state of the affected disc, bone may be permanently fused together in order to protect the spinal cord at the point where the disc is failing. In rare instances, an artificial disc may be utilized to replace the degenerated disc that needs to be removed.
Whether back pain has just sprung up, or it has come and gone over the years, spinal health is not something to ignore! Our highly skilled team at NJOI is here to help you properly diagnose your back pain, and then recommend an effective treatment plan that will help you get back to 100%. NJOI’s 6 locations throughout Northern and Central New Jersey make it easy for our patients to make it to treatments without having to travel long distances. Our offices are located in Wayne, Bridgewater, Butler, Morristown, and Clifton. Call us today to schedule an appointment at any of our 6 locations by calling 973-273-3431.
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Meet The Team
Vincent K. McInerney, M.D.
Founding member, Vincent K. McInerney, M.D., graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 1977 with honors as one of the top medical students in his class.
Anthony Festa, M.D.
Dr. Anthony Festa is an orthopaedic surgeon in his seventh year of practice at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute.
Anthony J. Scillia, M.D.
Anthony J. Scillia M.D. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine.
Robert M. Palacios, M.D.
SPORTS MEDICINE PHYSICIAN
Dr. Robert Palacios is board-certified and fellowship trained, and has been specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine for over two decades.
Craig Wright, M.D.
ORTHOPAEDIC TRAUMA SURGEON
Craig Wright, MD joins New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute by way of Totowa, NJ where he was born and raised.
"Doctors and staff very knowledgeable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Procedure I had went well and staff at surgical center very nice. My procedure went very smoothly. Follow up by staff impressive. Neat office; inviting. Would definitely recommend Dr. Festa to anyone in need of such services."
"Hurt my hand in work. Came here thru my company. Happy with the Doctor and the Service. Good Location. Would recommend to others."