Degenerative disc disease is a spinal condition in which one or more of the individual discs in your spine deteriorate over time, leading to pain. This medical condition often occurs during the aging process — the longer people live, the more their discs get worn down. However, degenerative disc disease can also bother younger people for a wide range of reasons. For example, injuries or prolonged periods of poor posture can heighten your risk of degenerative disc disease. An x-ray will indicate whether you have this condition, but before you reach the point of trying to have your pain diagnosed, you'll likely experience a selection of symptoms. Here are some signs that you could be dealing with degenerative disc disease.
Pain During Certain Postures
One common issue that many people with degenerative disc disease experience is a sharp emergence of pain upon moving in a certain way. For example, if you bend your head forward so that your chin touches your chest, you might feel a sharp burst of pain in the rear of your neck. Or, you might experience sharp discomfort upon bending your neck backward or attempting to lower either ear to the corresponding shoulder. This pain can occur because the nerves next to your spine get irritated by the discs.
Discomfort During High-Impact Activities
When you suffer from degenerative disc disease, you may also experience sharp or dull pains during high-impact activities. This discomfort can occur because your discs make contact with the exposed nerves around your spine. For example, if you were to jump off the bottom few stairs in a staircase, you might notice a sharp pain in your neck when you land. You don't need to perform such drastic physical feats to experience this pain, though. Other high-impact activities such as running and step aerobics may also generate this feeling.
Many sufferers of degenerative disc disease find it challenging to sleep soundly. Although a wide range of health issues can impact your quality of sleep, degenerative disc disease is problematic because certain head positions can affect the nerves in your neck and cause everything from a dull, irritating pain to a sharp one. You may find that you seldom look forward to going to bed, even when you're tired, and that you're fatigued and irritable in the morning due to lack of sleep.
If you suspect that your symptoms may be consistent with degenerative disc disease, make it a priority to seek help from a health professional. If you're experiencing neck and back pain, contact a chiropractor at a location such as Beltline Chiropractic for assistance.