Degenerative Disc Disease
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
To understand Degenerative Disc Disease, it is helpful to understand the components of the 23 intervertebral discs of the spine. These discs are composed of flexible cartilage. They serve as cushions for the 24 bony vertebrae that give the spine its strength. The outer edge of each intervertebral disc is made of a thicker wall called the annulus fibrosus. The central, softer part of the disc is the nucleus pulposus and contains Type I and Type II collagen.
As we age, the nucleus pulposus degrades causing narrowing of the disc height, tears in the cartilage, bulging and herniation of the disc wall and damage to the cartilaginous endplates.
Synovitis plays a key role in disc generation by weakening soft tissues and destabilizing the three-joint structure of the spine, which consists of the two facet joints and a vertebra. There are 23 of these joints which provide strength and flexibility to the back. As the capsular ligaments of the facet joints succumb to synovitis, they degrade and weaken, causing localized spinal instability, pain and radiculopathy.
Old athletic injuries and recent trauma which cause swelling can also play a role. The degeneration begins to cause pain that may be mild at first, but can soon grow to be chronic. Smoking, intense exercise and obesity all tend to compound the degenerative cascade. Some studies suggest that disc disease may also be caused by occult or hidden infections by bacteria such as propionibacterium acne and fusobacterium species. Degenerative disc disease is also an indicator of osteoarthritis.
What are the symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
- Acute pain and stiffness that worsens when seated
- Pain that intensifies when twisting or turning, or when bending over
- Reduced pain when walking or jogging; increasing pain when standing or sitting
- Pain can be localized in the spinal area or into the hip and buttock
- Soreness or tingling radiating to the extremities
- Weakness in the calf or thigh muscles
- Foot drop
Do I need an operation or can my chronic Degenerative Disc Disease be treated regeneratively?
If your condition isn’t improving and you’ve tried everything, this is where we step in to help. Dr. Greenberg has developed an alternative treatment for disc degeneration called Kinetic Regeneration Therapy (KRT). It includes a series of non-toxic treatments to regenerate new cartilage, ligaments and bones near the site of your injury. The non-surgical process strengthens muscles and joints, and stabilizes your spine. Remember that it is always better to regenerate a disc rather than have a full-blown operation to fuse or replace one.
To assess your condition, Dr. Greenberg’s team will perform a Comprehensive Kinetic Diagnosis, including a review of your most recent radiographs. They will carefully examine and palpate your neck, back and shoulders to gain a comprehensive understanding of the kinetic integrity of all the key systems involved along your spine, pelvis, knees and feet. They may assess your gait or check for pelvic tilt to see if your musculoskeletal systems are balanced.
If you are an appropriate candidate for Kinetic Regeneration Therapy, Dr. Greenberg will treat your disc disease with the healing and synergistic cascade of Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Treatments.
A typical treatment may call for several injections performed every 3 weeks. Dr. Greenberg has had success using PRP injections to regenerate a degenerating spine. He will also treat nearby ligaments, muscles and discs. The treatments initiate your body’s healing processes to rebuild sinews, tendons, cartilage and even bone. The treatment uses the body’s own healing components and platelet-rich plasma to strengthen and stabilize the spine, reduce pain, and help you get back to your active lifestyle.
Kinetic Regeneration Therapy is an excellent choice for people who are looking for a non-invasive alternative to surgery that has lower infection risks, shorter recovery times and is opioid-free. We work with you holistically. We, renew you physically and try to raise your personal sense of wellness, so you become a healthier YOU with a back that feels great.
If you or a loved one is looking for a new strategy to treat chronic aches and pains, fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment or call Dr. Greenberg’s office today at (833) 440-4325.
Molecular Basis of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration and Herniations: What Are the Important Translational Questions?
Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 Jun; 473(6): 1903–1912; Kadow, Sowa, NamVo, Kang
Self Care Anywhere, New Century Publishing, 2000, Skole, Greenberg, Garzsi