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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Help for a family member

 mrb33 - Sun Mar 20, 2005 7:59 pm

Hello my name is Matt and I am new to this forum. I am trying to find information on Degenerative Disk Disease. My aunt is only 39 years old and has recently been diagnosed with DDD. She has been in severe pain for the last 2 years and been to specialist after specialist and they are all scared to operate on her because of her being so young. from what i know 7 of her disk (the padding that surronds the vertabrae) are completley gone. the doctor told her he has seen 80 year old women in better shape. i cannot stand to see her in so much pain, and i would desperately love to help ease her pain, but i don't know how. if any can help, or point us in a direction i would appreciate it. Thank You!
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:28 pm

User avatar Hello,

Degeneration of the disc tissue makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rapture).

Each disc is formed of a central gel-like inside (nucleus pulposus), surrounded by an outer ring (annulus fibrosus).

When this softer component ruptures (herniates) through the outer ring it press directly on nerve roots and irritate adjacent nervous tissue.

These conditions can be treated in the majority of cases with medical and conservative treatment (non surgical).

Non surgical treatment include, physical therapy, certain exercises, weight reduction, epidural steroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and decreased daily activities. The pain usually improves faster than the numbness and the weakness if present.

Surgery for disc herniation is only considered if symptoms are not controlled after at least one month (6 weeks) of medical and conservative treatment, or in very complicated cases with serious symptoms.

Associated, Muscle spasm alone can cause this pain.
In cases of pain due to muscle spasm, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause (proper posture) will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of analgesics, cold or hot therapy.

A spinal physician is the one able to determine if surgery is the best treatment for the patient after evaluating the patient personal, social, occupational and disease condition.
Hope you find this information useful.
Best regards,

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