Disc degeneration is something that is commonly identified as the cause of a person’s painful symptoms. A person will start having pain in the neck and an x-ray or MRI is ordered and it is found that the person has degenerative disc disease and is told that this is why they have pain. But is this really accurate? I have spoken https://youtu.be/6LiUsWhgcxY about this in the past in regard to low back pain, but does the same apply to the neck?
If degenerative disc disease in the neck is the cause of neck pain, then we should see that as people have more degenerative changes, then they should have more pain. A great way to study this is to do MRIs on people without pain to identify if degenerative disc is present and then follow up with them after a number of years to see what happens to their degenerative disc disease as well as find out if they start to have pain. A recent research paper did just this.
The authors of a recent research article which was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, did an MRI on 193 people without pain. They then did a follow up MRI on these same individuals 20 years later. There were 2 main findings from this research:
So, what does this tell us? It is highly likely (90%) that we will all develop degenerative disc disease in our neck as we get older. However, that does not mean that we will develop pain. This is great news if you have neck pain because we cannot do anything to change degenerative disc disease-it appears to be a normal part of aging. But, there are likely other factors that can be changed and treatments that can be provided to help get people out of experiencing neck pain.
If you or someone you know are experiencing neck (or low back) pain that is not getting better and have been told that it is because of degenerative disc disease, please reach out to me to find out what actually may be contributing to your pain and what can be done to eliminate it for good.
Thanks for reading,