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Degenerative Disk Disease

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Call 888-402-LVHN (5846) Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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Walk-In Care

If you have a minor illness, you can walk into an ExpressCare or schedule a video visit. For allergies, ear infections, cold and flu symptoms, rash and sprains.

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Treatment

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s physical medicine specialists (physiatrists) often can help you manage the pain associated with degenerative disk disease. They focus on restoring function through physical therapy and other conservative measures, including steroid shots and anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Chiropractic treatment is another option to explore.

If you have severe pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, or immobility that does not get better, you may need to see a surgeon who specializes in spinal surgeries. If you need surgery to relieve back pain, our neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons offer some of the most advanced surgical techniques, including:

Anterior lumbar fusion

Anterior lumbar fusion fuses vertebrae to help ease your lower back and leg pain. It is generally done through an abdominal incision. Depending on how many vertebrae are fused, your spinal fusion surgery may take from three to eight hours. You will spend two to five days in the hospital after this surgery.

Artificial disk replacement (cervical and lumbar)

In artificial disk replacement, the surgeon inserts a quarter-sized artificial disk – composed of high-density plastic between two metal plates – in place of the removed disk. Grooved teeth on the plates' outer sides keep the disk in place, as does the natural pressure of the spine.

This artificial disk helps the spine maintain its natural flexibility and shock absorption. The procedure reduces back and neck pain, recovery times and hospital stays associated with back surgery. You can expect to spend about one day in the hospital following this procedure.

Cervical fusion

Cervical fusion fuses vertebrae to help ease neck and arm pain. Cervical fusion usually is performed through an incision in the front of the neck and generally takes from one to four hours, depending on how many vertebrae are fused. You typically will spend one day in the hospital after this procedure.

Posterior lumbar fusion

Posterior lumbar fusion fuses vertebrae to help ease your lower back and leg pain. Spinal fusion is performed through an incision in your back, and depending on how many vertebrae are fused, the surgery may take from three to eight hours. You will likely be in the hospital for two to three days.

Spinal instrumentation

When a surgeon performs spinal fusion, he may need to put structures in place – called spinal instrumentation – to help steady the spine while the bone fuses. This fills the space left by the removed tissue. Recovery time depends on the type of surgery (anterior lumbar fusion, cervical fusion, posterior lumbar fusion, scoliosis surgery) that is used in conjunction with spinal instrumentation.

Need Help?

Call 888-402-LVHN (5846) Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Chat Online

Walk-In Care

If you have a minor illness, you can walk into an ExpressCare or schedule a video visit. For allergies, ear infections, cold and flu symptoms, rash and sprains.

Find an ExpressCARE Schedule a video visit

Schedule Online

Book the next available "new patient" appointment with the click of a button.

Schedule Now

How You Can Help Our Mission How You Can Help Our Mission

This is a non-profit organization. Please consider donating to help heal, comfort and care.

Learn more »