Degenerative disc disease pain is a diagnostic conclusion which links neck or back symptoms to the occurrence of perfectly normal spinal aging. The diagnosis of DDD always features a powerful nocebo effect, since the condition conjures up visions of a serious spinal disorder. DDD can be clearly visualized using x-rays, CT scan or MRI imaging. X-rays will not show the actual discs, but the lessened intervertebral disc spaces will be obvious, even to an untrained eye. CT and spinal MRI will show the actual disc detail and are usually used to determine the actual extent of intervertebral degeneration. Regardless of the visual evidence of disc desiccation that might be demonstrated, pain is rarely a consequence of intervertebral degeneration.
This essay seeks to dispel many falsehoods associated with degenerative disc disease conditions, including the common idea that disc desiccation is inherently painful and pathological.
Clinical research clearly proves that the vast majority of people who have been diagnosed with DDD as the primary source of their pain have been misdiagnosed. This helps to explain why so many treatment options developed for disc desiccation are ineffective. Remember, there is no way to reverse the spinal aging processes without surgery or spinal decompression. Additionally, there is almost never a need to reverse them, since they are not inherently painful or harmful in normal amounts.
This is not to say that all spinal degeneration is completely innocent. However, only a small minority of patients suffer the degree of degeneration needed to definitively produce symptomatic expressions. These represent a tiny share of the total population of patients who receive the disc disease diagnosis.
Say the words out loud… "Degenerative disc disease". How do these words make you feel? Well, I can tell you my own experience…
I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease back pain in my teens. I was surprised when my chiropractor told me that I had 2 herniated discs and DDD. I was shocked at the sound of the words.
Degenerative sounded like a condition that would get worse and worse until I eventually became crippled.
Disc instantly reminded me of the problems my grandfather and mother had with discs in their lower backs. My mother even had a highly traumatic laminectomy that did nothing to cure her back pain. She continued to be troubled by the symptoms throughout her life.
Disease sounded like I was sick. I felt as if the condition might spread to my entire spine, since most diseases are contagious.
I suffered a tremendous nocebo effect from this diagnosis. This is the identical effect suffered by the overwhelming majority of patients diagnosed with this condition every single day. My doctor scared the living hell out of me. No one provided me the facts on this condition, but luckily I started to investigate DDD on my own.
DDD is a completely normal part of the aging process. Almost everyone has it in their lower backs and necks by the age of 30 and often far earlier. People display varying degrees of degeneration, but the condition is rarely symptomatic.
DDD is caused by the dehydration of the intervertebral discs. As we age, the discs lose their ability to retain moisture. This causes a flattening in disc height and often a reduction in disc diameter. This process is not inherently painful or symptomatic. A person who does not demonstrate DDD is a truly unique specimen.
If you have been diagnosed, tell your doctor you already know you have DDD. Tell the doctor they have it also. Actually, you might want to mention that everyone has it.
Do not fear this condition. The fear of the diagnosis is what causes symptoms to begin or worsen. My pain got much worse once I knew that I had this condition. Learn the facts and realize that DDD is normal.
Concentrate on finding the real source of symptoms and remember that many structural issues in the spine are mistakenly blamed for causing symptoms, not just DDD.