It can be difficult to diagnose degenerative disc disease (DDD) because it grows gradually and can pose many 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 try 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 the 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.
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Neurological and physical exams will also be 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 your pain. They will also feel for muscle spasms, notice alignment, and curvature, and 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 have an x-ray, which can help your healthcare specialist “see” the bones in your spine. X-rays reveal 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 you will have several normal x-ray viewpoints done. You’ll have one chosen from the side, called a lateral view. You will also provide a “straight on” shot, which can be done in the front or the back. An x-ray shot from the front is an anteroposterior (AP) view; from the back, it’s called a posteroanterior (PA) view. On the plain pictures, your spine specialist will try to find a break, scoliosis, and vertebral alignment —other spinal problems that can come 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 backward (extension) during these x-rays.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may be demanded. These evaluations are more effective than x-rays at showing the soft tissues in your back and can help identify issues such as bulging or herniated discs. A CT scan is useful because it’s easier 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 it.
In case the medical 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 medical evaluations can be required to make a degenerative disk disorder identification.
Maintaining overall health and wellness through 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 to staying healthy, seeking care and preventing injuries or developing conditions through natural alternatives can also guarantee overall health and wellness. Chiropractic medical care is a safe and effective medical treatment option utilized by many individuals to ensure whole-body wellness.
The information herein on "Medical Evaluations for Degenerative Disc Disease" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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