Disc degeneration develops over the years, affecting your lower back or neck and often causing intense flare-ups of pain. Benjamin Cohen, MD, offers comprehensive disc degeneration treatment that begins with conservative therapies but may require minimally invasive surgery if your pain persists. To receive compassionate care from an experienced spinal surgeon, use the online booking feature or call the office in Garden City, New York.
When the discs between your vertebrae are young and healthy, they’re about 80% water. Over the years, they gradually dehydrate. As a disc loses water, it becomes thinner and can’t continue to work as a shock absorber in your spine.
A second factor contributes to degenerative disc disease: injuries and daily wear and tear that damage the disc’s tough outer covering. Discs have a limited blood supply, so when the covering wears down, it doesn’t heal well. Once the outer layer becomes damaged, you’re at risk for disc herniation.
As discs degenerate, your spine loses stability and nerves compress, causing lower back or neck pain. Your pain may be continuous, or it could come and go, with sudden flare-ups of moderate to disabling pain.
Spinal instability may cause painful muscle spasms or make you feel like your spine is going to give out. When disc degeneration leads to a pinched nerve, you can develop pain, tingling, and numbness along the nerve, often radiating down your legs or arms.
Your treatment begins with nonsurgical therapies to relieve the pain, keep you active, and maintain spinal stability. This type of treatment plan may include over-the-counter pain medications, steroid injections, electrical stimulation, and physical therapy.
When your pain persists despite conservative treatment, Dr. Cohen may recommend surgery such as:
After removing the damaged disc, Dr. Cohen fuses the vertebrae together. A fusion is performed by applying a bone graft between the two vertebrae, then using metal hardware like plates or screws to hold the bones together while they fuse.
The bone graft stimulates each vertebra to grow toward the graft. Over time, the two bones grow together, forming one solid bone. A bone graft may consist of real bone with living cells, or Dr. Cohen may use a fusion cage filled with biochemicals that trigger bone growth.
Dr. Cohen may remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disc. The advantage of disc replacement is that it preserves spine movement.
When you have ongoing back pain, book an appointment online or call Benjamin Cohen, MD, for exceptional ongoing care and to learn about your treatment options.