As we age, our vertebral discs, which serve as the spine’s shock absorbers, gradually dry out, which affects their strength and resiliency. This can lead to degenerative disc disease (DDD).
DDD of the cervical spine is a relatively common condition for aging adults, but you may not know you have it. Many times, you only become aware of the condition when being examined for another health problem or during a routine checkup. To diagnose DDD, your doctor may order diagnostic tests, including X-rays and discography.
Find out more about nonoperative treatments for DDD.
In addition to these treatments, we’ll help you learn about healthy posture and proper body mechanics.
If symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease persist, despite nonoperative treatment, you might need further diagnostic tests such as:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
You may require surgery if your surgeon discovers that one or more of the intervertebral discs have herniated.
A common technique is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This involves a frontal approach to remove the damaged disc and fuse the adjacent vertebrae with bone graft and screws or plates.
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.