In this newsletter, we introduce our new phone and portal system at PSJC and we discuss a video from our YouTube video channel about Degenerative Disc Disease.

First, we would like to introduce everyone to Klara.  If you have called our office in the last few days, you will have noticed something new.  Over the last several months we have been testing and integrating a new communications system called Klara and it just went live a few days ago.  Using Klara, you will now be able to send and receive secure, HIPPA compliant texts to our office. We will be able to easily and securely electronically send and receive notes, reports, etc.

Also, when you call our office, there is a new phone tree so you may directly reach the specific doctor’s team or administrative team (e.g. scheduling, etc) that you are seeking. You may also choose to select the text option and send us a text instead of talking, if you prefer.

Please feel free to let us know your thoughts and experiences with this new system as we constantly seek to improve.

Degenerative disc disease is a “diagnosis” that is very common for people with back and/or neck pain.  What does degenerative disc disease mean, though? Is it really a disease?  Or is it something else?

In PSJC’s YouTube video on this subject (link below), degenerative disc disease, what it is and what it is not, as well as all its common misunderstandings is discussed in detail.

An important take home point from the video that we wanted to highlight here is that “degenerative disc disease” is not really a “disease.”  Rather it is a description of the appearance of one or more intervertebral discs in the spine. Over time, every human will develop degenerative disc disease if they are fortunate to live long enough.  Indeed, by the time you are 65, there is basic statistical certainty that, on an MRI, you will have degenerative disc disease… and yet you may very well never have symptoms.

How can all of that be true?  Degenerative disc disease describes the normal “wear and tear” that occurs in a disc in which the disc loses its fluid over time.  As the fluid leaves the disc, other compensatory effects within and around the disc begin to occur.  Collectively, we refer to this process as degenerative disc disease.

Importantly, as with osteoarthritis in the joints, the mere radiographic presence of degenerative disc disease does not mean that symptoms will necessarily result. Symptoms can result, but often they don’t. This is because what causes the pain from a disc, is when there is inflammation inside of the disc that travels through a tear in the annulus (or rim) of the disc and this inflammation then irritates the nerve fibers in the outer aspect of the annulus.  It is this inflammation that either causes pain or does not.  For this reason, painful discs can usually be successfully treated non-surgically because ultimately it is the inflammation as opposed to the tear or degenerative changes in the disc that needs to be resolved.  And when the inflammation is resolved, the degenerative changes on MRI will still be present, but the pain will be gone and not necessarily return.

To hear much more on this important topic, please visit our YouTube video on Degenerative Disc Disease 

Click here to link to our YouTube video to learn everything you need to know about Degenerative Disc Disease
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