Degenerative Disc Disease

OPA treats a wide variety of back conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

The spine is made up of vertebrae (bones) and cushions (discs) that are stacked one on top of the other. Degenerative disc disease occurs when the cushioning discs undergo changes as a result of an injury, disorder, or the natural process of aging. This condition can affect the spine at any location; however, the neck and lower back are the most commonly involved areas.

Common Causes:

    • Disc deterioration
    • Obesity
    • Smoke
    • Genetic predisposition

Symptoms may include:

    • Pain in neck, mid-back, lower back
    • Extremity pain
    • Weakness
    • Tingling

When diagnosing degenerative disc disease, The OPA Spine Team:

    • Obtains a complete medical history
    • Performs a physical examination
    • Orders and analyzes X-ray, MRI, CT scan

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease your symptoms to help you live an active lifestyle.


Common Treatments:

At Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA), we offer a comprehensive selection of degenerative disc disease treatments, including nonsurgical and minimally invasive techniques. In most cases, surgery will not be necessary. Our skilled team of Spine Specialists will utilize conservative methods which include:


An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

Oral medications decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy
One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Spine Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule, Dr. Curtis Mina, Dr. Gene Falkowski, and Dr. derrick Foge are experts in treating degenerative disc disease.

Our Spine Team

The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading spine specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced degenerative disc disease treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of back, neck, and spine conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

All treatments work to restore pain-free spine function that allows patients to lead active, fulfilling lives, be it walking pain-free or getting back into athletic action.

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