Disc Degeneration

In your 20s, 30s and 40s, pain in the low back is often caused by muscle strains or common overuse injuries. In people older than 50, degenerative disc disease is more likely to be responsible.

As you age, the discs in your spine begin to break down, and these degenerative changes can cause chronic pain and limit mobility. The two main types of spinal degeneration are degenerative disc disease and herniation. 

To learn what nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatments are available to relief pain caused by disc degeneration contact the Interventional Pain Clinic. Dr. Tyler Ptacek and Dr. Lance Doeden are highly trained and experienced and offer the latest treatment options to provide relief caused by spinal degeneration. Call 605-342-3280 or schedule an appointment online. 

As we age, the discs between our vertebrae can become less flexible and thinner. This can cause pain as well as limit our flexibility. Aging also causes the connective tissue around the discs to break down resulting in a loss of water. Our bodies depend on water to cushion and shock absorbing discs. Over time, though, the discs lose their ability to absorb shock and this can lead to more pain.


Once a disc is damaged, it can't regenerate itself because of the limited blood supply. As the disc further wears down the symptoms can be worsened and cause further pain.


You may also develop disc degeneration issues due to injury or repetitive stress. This type of degeneration is common with people who have competed in physical sports or activities for an extended time or in certain occupations. 

What are the symptoms of disc degeneration?

The most common symptom associated with spinal disc disease is back pain. Other symptoms may include:

Neck pain

  • Pain that worsens when you move or change positions

  • Pain that gets worse when coughing, sneezing or bending

  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs

  • Radiating pain into the arms or legs

Other symptoms include leg weakness, muscle spasms, bladder control problems and loss of bowel control.

How do you treat disc degeration?

There are treatments available for disc degeneration, especially if the problem is recent. If pain is severe or other symptoms are interfering with daily activities, it's important to talk to your doctor about the best options for you.


Treatment might include lifestyle changes, such as physical therapy, exercises and weight loss if you're overweight. It's also a good idea to stop smoking and avoid bending and lifting heavy objects.


Medications can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain, and pain medications can be used to help control the pain.


Corticosteroids can be injected directly into the discs to reduce swelling. In some cases, surgery might also be used to repair damaged discs or fuse bones together in your spine to relieve pressure on the discs.

Some minimally invasive treatment options include: 

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation which involves implanting a small device that calms the nerves and disrupts the pain signlas form the spine to your brain

  • Disc decompression surgery which involves removing a small portion of the bulging disc to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve root

  • Facet joint injections: These injections may be used to treat specific nerve root compression caused by degenerative disc disease. Facet injections involve injecting steroids into one or more joints that are located next to the damaged disc.

 If you're experiencing spinal degeneration, call the Interventional Pain Clinic today to learn more about your treatment options. 

What is disc degeneration?