Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back pain and neck pain, and also one of the most misunderstood.

Studies have revealed that women are more susceptible to this disease twice as likely as men. However, regardless of gender, risk factors are the same. Neck arthritis symptoms are also the same in men and women. They include tenderness in the neck, radiating pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.

Several spinal conditions are known to be associated with degenerative disc disease, including:

  • Cervical spinal stenosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve

People with degenerative disc disease are active, otherwise healthy and in their 30s or 40s. Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain that is worse when sitting, bending, lifting or twisting
  • Feeling better while walking or even running than while sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • Feeling better changing positions often or lying down
  • Periods of severe pain that come and go
  • Pain can affect the low back, buttocks, thighs or the neck, depending on where the affected disc is
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities (arms, fingers and thighs)
  • Weakness in the leg muscles or foot drop may be a sign that there is damage to the nerve root

Degenerative disc disease is caused by the drying out of the disc. As people age, the disc dries out and doesn’t absorb shocks as well. Daily activities and sports cause tears in the outer core of the disc. By the age of 60, most people have some degree of disc degeneration. Not everyone at that age has back pain, however. Injuries, which can cause swelling, soreness and instability, can also result in lower back pain.


Before Burak Ozgur, MD can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan, a complete history and physical exam are necessary. A diagnosis is based on a medical history and a physical examination, as well as the symptoms and the circumstances where the pain started. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) can show damage to discs, but it alone cannot confirm degenerative disc disease.


Treatment options for degenerative disc disease include:

  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Surgical intervention
  • Non-operative treatment of symptoms

Videos on Degenerative Disc Disease

Learn more about degenerative disc disease with these videos that provide information on spinal anatomy and how degenerative disc disease affects the vertebrae and spinal discs, as well as an in-depth overview of symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease.

Best Degenerative Disc Disease Surgeon

Leading U.S. neurosurgeon Burak Ozgur, MD is at the forefront of minimally invasive surgical treatment for degenerative disc disease. His achievements have earned him a double-board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Spine Surgery. He has been recognized for his excellence, in-depth knowledge and expertise in this specialty by reputable healthcare rating resources, including the five consecutive Super Doctors for Neurological Surgery (2013-2016) in Southern California and the 2013 Most Compassionate Doctor, an patient-driven award that is bestowed only to 5 percent of the nation’s 870,000 active medical practitioners. He diagnoses and treats degenerative disc disease and other types of spine conditions such as scoliosis, chronic back pain, neck pain and more using these highly-advanced and minimal access techniques.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Degenerative Disc Disease

With minimally invasive spine surgery for degenerative disc disease, Dr. Ozgur can make a smaller incision, while at the same time accomplish identical results as open spine surgery. Compared to conventional or open surgery, minimally invasive surgical techniques require minimal surgical incisions, which is less damaging to the other vital soft tissue structures and decreasing the recovery time for patients. Affected area of the vertebrae or spine can be access with acute accuracy using surgical cameras and tools.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Smaller incisions
  • Smaller scar/less scar tissue
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Minimal soft tissue damage
  • Reduced muscle retraction
  • Decreased postoperative narcotics
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Possibility of performing on outpatient basis
  • Faster recovery
  • Quick return to work and resumption of normal activities

We Can Help

Burak Ozgur, MD treats painful degenerative disc disease with minimally invasive spine surgery, which is designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.