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Degenerative Disc Disease

incorporating Disc Protrusion, Slipped Discs and Sciatica

At the Blackberry Clinic we understand the issues surrounding disc degeneration. The functional changes as a result of disc degeneration are among the leading causes of back pain and disability. Disc degeneration involves a structural, functional, mechanical, nutritional and chemical alteration in the affected disc and surrounding structures such as the facet joints. Genetic factors may also play a part.

Disc degeneration is not an indicator of inevitable pain and disability since there is a high prevalence in asymptomatic individuals. The aetiology of pain from the disc itself appears to be due to a combination of mechanical deformation and the presence of inflammatory mediators. MRI scans and other imaging techniques provide accurate information on disc morphology and can help influence treatment options. Disc protrusion, nerve root inflammation and facet joint pain leading to sciatica can occur as a result of these mechanical changes in the intervertebral segment.

Several reviews have been written that summarise current ideas on aetiology, and symptom production in lumbar degenerative disc disease and the role imaging plays in its identification and management.

The incidence, morbidity and socioeconomic impact of degenerative disc disease have given rise to extensive research efforts into the epidemiology, anatomy, biomechanics, biochemistry and neurophysiology involved in the multifactorial cause of back pain.

An in-depth review on current concepts in degenerative disc disease can be found at: radiology.rsna.org/content/245/1/43.long