Degenerative disc disease
Duke Spine Center makes a pain-free life possible with comprehensive medical and surgical options for degenerative disc disease. Our surgical team treats all forms of degenerative disc disease, including herniated discs and ruptured discs. Many people with degenerative disc disease will also develop spine arthritis, including spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and ankylosing spondylitis. Whenever possible, our goal is to avoid your need for surgery.
Expert care for degenerative disc disease and spine arthritis
There are many closely related spine conditions that cause severe back pain, stiffness and inflammation. We understand the delicate interplay between these conditions and how they impact each other. We specialize in treating all degenerative disc diseases, including herniated discs, ruptured discs and all forms of spine arthritis.
If you are in pain from a disc-related condition, we work with you to find the best combination of medication, steroid injections and physical therapy to help you avoid surgery. If you do require spine surgery, your care will be in the hands of one the best surgery teams in North Carolina.
Choose Duke Spine Center for your degenerative disc disease treatment because we offer:
- Spine surgery expertise. We are among the most experienced and busiest surgical teams in the state. Our surgeons perform more than 1,200 spinal surgeries every year, including minimally invasive procedures and complex reconstructive surgeries.
- Intraoperative imaging technology. We offer advanced, intraoperative capabilities with CT and MRI. Our surgeons use detailed, 3-D pictures of your spine and the tiny nerves and roots of your spinal cord in the operating room to guide them as they operate.
- Specialized team. In addition to neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, nonoperative physicians and nurses, our team includes acupuncturists, physiatrists, pain management experts and physical therapists -– all of whom may work with you to alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by your spinal condition.
- Personalized therapy plans. Whenever possible, our goal is to avoid your need for surgery. That’s why our approach involves a combination of treatments to target the cause of your pain and symptoms. We develop a plan that includes medication and/or injections with physical therapy. If appropriate, we also offer non-traditional options like acupuncture.
DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
We may control your pain using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, which do not require a prescription. Medication is typically combined with physical therapy as your first course of action.
Exercises learned during physical therapy can strengthen your spine. They can also minimize your pain and avoid injury by improving your overall balance and flexibility. Your Spine Center doctor may direct your physical therapy program by recommending the best exercises for you, or you may work with a physical therapist in the community.
When NSAIDs are no longer effective, we may prescribe steroid injections that treat inflammation and pain right at the source. We inject these treatments in a special suite at Duke Spine Center. You may see your doctor and receive your treatment on the same day.
An acupuncturist on staff may help reduce your neck and back pain. We also offer non-traditional supplements such as fish oil, which some people find effective. We offer these treatments as a complement to your regular treatment plan, not as a substitute.
May be considered after medications, physical therapy and alternative treatments like acupuncture have failed to relieve your symptoms. If you require surgery, we have one of the most comprehensive and experienced spine surgery programs in North Carolina. Our goal is to make surgery as quick and painless as possible using the latest surgical techniques. When appropriate, we use a minimally invasive approach for these procedures, meaning we operate through several tiny incisions so you recover faster and experience less pain and fewer complications. Surgeries include:
- Spinal fusion surgery. Fuses together the vertebrae in your back so they cannot move, pinch your nerves and spinal cord, and cause you pain.
- Cervical and lumbar disc replacement (arthroplasty). Removes a degenerated disc and replaces it with a metal or plastic artificial disc.
- Lumbar microdiscectomy. Removes a small portion of a vertebra or disc to relieve pressure on a nerve caused by a herniated disc.
DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
Your doctor will order one or more of the following imaging tests to diagnose the cause of your spinal pain:
Takes pictures of bones inside your body. X-ray pictures will show any areas of instability in your spine. Because X-rays only show bones, and not discs or nerves, another imaging test is usually needed.
Magnets and radio waves are used to take detailed pictures of your spinal disc and the nerve roots of your spinal cord.
A series of cross-sectional pictures that produce detailed, 3-D pictures of your spine and spinal cord.
Injects a dye into the sac around the nerve roots in your spinal cord to help them show up better on a CT scan.