What is disc dehydration, symptoms and treatment

Disc dehydration is a normal situation that happens as a person ages, because the cells present in the discs responsible for absorbing water start to die, which decreases the water concentration in the discs and makes them more rigid and less flexible.

Thus, as the disc dehydrates, characteristic signs and symptoms appear, such as back pain and limited movement, in addition to a greater risk of disc degeneration over time, which can be perceived through the worsening of symptoms.

To alleviate these symptoms, the orthopedist may recommend the use of medications to reduce pain or physical therapy sessions, as it is possible to relax the back muscles and allow improved mobility.

Symptoms of disc dehydration

The symptoms of disc dehydration appear as there is a decrease in the amount of water in the discs, which causes a loss in the flexibility of the discs and a greater chance of friction between the vertebrae, leading to the appearance of some symptoms, such as:

  • Back pain;
  • Rigidity and limitation of movement;
  • Weakness;
  • Feeling of tightness in the back;
  • Numbness in the lower back, which can radiate to the legs according to the disc being affected.

Thus, if the person has any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you consult an orthopedist to make an assessment that allows you to identify if there is dehydration of the disc. Thus, during the consultation, the doctor can ask the person to be in different positions while applying different forces on the back to check whether the person is in pain.

In addition, the doctor may recommend performing some imaging tests, such as X-rays, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, to confirm the diagnosis and differentiate from herniated discs, in which the person may have similar symptoms in some cases. Learn to recognize the symptoms of herniated disc.

Main causes

Disc dehydration is more common due to aging, being noticed more frequently in people over 50 years old.

However, it is possible that young people also show signs and symptoms of disc dehydration, which may be due to the presence of cases in the family, in which case it is considered hereditary, or as a consequence of improper posture when sitting or due to the fact of carrying too much weight, for example.

In addition, this change can happen as a result of car accidents or during contact sports, or due to the fact that you lose a lot of time quickly, because during this process there can be a very rapid loss of fluids, including the one that is present on the discs.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for disc dehydration should be done under the guidance of an orthopedist and usually involves the use of pain-relieving drugs and physical therapy sessions that help to improve mobility, relieve pain and avoid stiffness.

In cases where the symptoms are more intense and there is no improvement even with physical therapy, the doctor may indicate the application of corticosteroid injections in the spine in order to promote symptom relief.