How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated?

degenerative disc disease

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) may sound intimidating when you first hear this diagnosis or when you read about it on your MRI report. It is a common cause of lower back pain and is also one of the most misunderstood causes of chronic back pain.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

DDD is not actually a “disease.” It is the process that occurs to your spinal discs due to regular wear and tear. Daily movements such as repetitive bending, twisting, and lifting can cause minuscule tears to the outer wall of the spinal discs. This region is called the annulus fibrosus. The discs do not have enough blood supply to heal the tears in the annulus, even in the healthiest individual. Over time, the tears worsen and become more complex. Eventually, the tears reach the outermost area of the disc annulus, causing them to leak. The center of the spinal disc is called the nucleus pulposus. This is a soft, gelatinous area in the disc that maintains disc hydration and function. As the nucleus pulposus leaks, the fluid loss causes the disc to decrease in height and collapse.

Due to the leaking fluid and degeneration of the disc people often experience pain in their backs, buttocks, or even in the back of the thighs. In the majority of MRIs in people over the age of 60, some form of degenerative disc disease is apparent. The involved discs will appear dark and flat compared to discs that are not degenerating.

The Problem with Common Treatment Methods

There are a number of common treatment methods that physicians use in patients with DDD. However, most of these “treatments” are really just a way to manage the pain, but never resolve the underlying cause. 

Symptoms can be alleviated using heat or ice therapy, manual manipulation, steroid injections, medications, and even physical therapy. But these methods of managing your pain are often temporary fixes that do not focus on the real root cause of your pain – the discs annulus tears in the degenerating disc. That approach will simply help subdue your symptoms so you can live more comfortably.

As cellular therapy and biologics continue to advance, physicians frequently look to cell treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to treat DDD. The limitation with treatments like this is that once the annulus of the disc is damaged and vulnerable, the biologic that is injected into the disc will not stay in the target area.

Surgery can change your spine anatomy, but it can never restore your spine structure or function to normal.  Also, disc tears cannot be surgically sewn.

The Discseel® Procedure & How it Works

If the common and often-relied upon treatments for degenerative disc disease are only temporary solutions, then what is a long-term resolution? The Discseel® Procedure

This procedure uses an FDA-approved biologic called Fibrin. The Fibrin is injected into the torn disc annulus and it seals the disc. Fibrin promotes the tissues within the disc to heal. 

The injection procedure is conducted using image-guided assistance and is performed in the office as an outpatient. The first step of this procedure is an Annulogram, where a water-soluble contrast is injected into the discs of the low back. Using live X-rays, Dr. Terebuh can see where there are leaks and tears, or degenerative changes in your spinal discs. After that, the Fibrin is injected into those specific areas that need to be treated.

Boris Terebuh, MD is Ohio’s first, and most experienced licensed Discseel® provider. He and his team are highly skilled in providing relief from DDD. If you have made an informed decision to avoid spine surgery, then you owe it to yourself to find out if you are a Discseel candidate.  If you or a loved one is currently suffering from degenerative disc disease, please fill out the form below to get in touch.

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