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It can be difficult to diagnose degenerative disc disease (DDD) because it grows gradually and can pose a multitude of associated problems (spinal stenosis, herniated disc, etc). For example, your doctor may be able to rapidly diagnose you for having a herniated disc, but it is more challenging to diagnose a herniated disc due to degenerative disc disease.
If you have back or neck pain that comes on suddenly, or in the event you have pain that persists, call a doctor who will refer you to a spine specialist. Your healthcare specialist will make an effort to discover the reason for your pain so that he or she can develop an accurate treatment plan for you—a method to manage your pain and other symptoms of degenerative disc disease and also that will help you recover.
As he/she works toward a diagnosis, your spinal specialist will ask about your present symptoms and what treatments you’ve already attempted.
Neurological and physical exams will be also performed by the healthcare professional. In the physical exam, she or he will notice your position, range of motion (how well and how much you can transfer specific joints), and physical state, noting any movement that triggers you pain. They will aslo feel for muscle spasms, notice alignment and its curvature, and will feel your back.
During the neurological exam, he or she will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread (that is—does your pain travel from your back and into other parts of the body?). As it can impact your nerves or even your spinal cord, the neurological exam is especially significant in degenerative disk disease.
You may require to get some imaging tests, to diagnose degenerative disk disorder. You could possibly have an x-ray, which can help your healthcare specialist “see” the bones in your spine. X-rays are good at revealing narrowed spinal stations (spinal stenosis), fractures, bone spurs (osteophytes), or osteoarthritis. Your spinal specialist may refer to these as “basic films.” By that, she or he means that you will have several normal x ray viewpoints done. You’ll have one chosen from the side; that is called a lateral view. You will also provide a “straight on” shot, and it can be done in the front or the back. An x ray shot from the front is named an anteroposterior (AP) view; from the back, it’s called a posteroanterior (PA) view. On the plain pictures, your spine specialist will be trying to find break, scoliosis, and vertebral alignment —other spinal problems that can come along with DDD.
Your healthcare professional may also order flexion and extension x-rays to assess the stability of your back as well as your range of movement (how well your joints move). You’ll be requested to bend forward (flexion) and backwards (extension) during these x rays.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan or or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may be demanded. These evaluations are somewhat more effective than x-rays at showing the soft tissues in your back and can help to identify issues such as a bulging disc or a herniated disc. A CT scan is useful because it’s more easy to begin to see the bones and nerves on it, therefore if a bone spur is pressing on a nerve, the surgeon can easily spot.
In case the specialist suspects nerve damage from degenerative changes in your spinal column, he or she may order a special test called an electromyography (EMG) to measure how fast your nerves respond.
Additional evaluations can be required by making a degenerative disk disorder identification.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Maintaining overall health and wellness through a balanced nutrition, regular physical activity and proper sleep is essential for your whole body’s well-being. While these are some of the most important contributing factors for staying healthy, seeking care and preventing injuries or the development of conditions through natural alternatives can also guarantee overall health and wellness. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment option utilized by many individuals to ensure whole body wellness.
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