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Diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease

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Degenerative disc disease (DDD) can be a painful and even debilitating condition, so if you have spine-related symptoms, it’s important to get the right diagnosis. If you have a clear picture of your spine’s condition, you can embark on a course of treatment to relieve your symptoms.

The team at JAG PT is composed of highly skilled physical therapists who are experienced in treating all types of spine and neck conditions. Find your nearest JAG PT location in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, book an appointment today, or read further about degenerative disc disease evaluation.

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease and How Is It Diagnosed?

Between each of your vertebrae, there is an intervertebral disc, which is primarily made of cartilage. The role of the discs is to absorb your body weight and ensure that your spine is stable. Over time, these discs can weaken and lead to problems such as pain and lack of mobility. When wear and tear on the discs is extensive enough to cause symptoms, this is known as degenerative disc disease.

Disc degeneration may begin in one’s 30s, but DDD is usually seen in people over 50. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis for DDD, not least because it can identify what stage your condition has progressed to. This will inform your treatment plan and help you get relief.

To diagnose you with accuracy, your healthcare professional will ask for your medical history, carry out a physical examination, and order imaging tests for a full picture of your condition.

How Do Medical Professionals Identify Symptoms and Signs of Degenerative Disc Disease?

The kinds of issues that people may face due to degenerative disc disease include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pain that gets worse when sitting for a long time
  • Limited mobility
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness in the case of a herniated (or “slipped”) disc

At your diagnostic appointment, your healthcare professional will ask you about the symptoms you have experienced, how long you have had them, and how they affect your activity. They will also identify factors like your range of movement and the effect of pain on your mobility.

This will help your healthcare provider reach an accurate diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, which can have symptoms similar to other spinal conditions like ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and sciatica.

What Imaging Techniques Are Utilized to Confirm Degenerative Disc Disease?

For an accurate diagnosis, your healthcare provider may use a variety of imaging methods to find out what’s going on.

X-rays are a useful tool for showing loss of space between vertebrae and whether a disc has moved out of place. They will also reveal any bone spurs protruding into the spinal canal.

CT scans use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to get a picture of your spine, showing changes in greater detail than a normal X-ray.

MRI scans give detailed two- or three-dimensional images of your spine, allowing your healthcare professional to assess damage to the discs, nerves, and spinal cord.

These imaging methods are essential to your diagnosis, as they will offer the detail needed to understand how far your condition has progressed and to tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs.

How Can JAG Physical Therapy Assist in Diagnosing and Managing Degenerative Disc Disease?

At JAG PT, we have a wealth of experience helping people with spinal conditions like DDD. Our therapists can devise a detailed and tailored treatment plan with exercises and lifestyle advice, such as how to sleep comfortably with degenerative disc disease.

Seek Professional Evaluation and Guidance at JAG Physical Therapy

If you’re looking for a trusted partner to diagnose and help you manage your degenerative disc disease, turn to your local JAG PT clinic. Book your appointment today to get started on the path to spinal healing and pain relief.

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