Degenerative Disc Disease

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is not as much a disease as it is a name for the changes that can happen to the spine as we age under improper biomechanical stresses (ie poor movement and posture over years).

Our discs are made of a tough, rubbery exterior and a soft interior. They sit between the vertebrae to enable remarkable amounts of movement in your back while preserving the effective "cage", the spinal column, that protects our very fragile and important spinal cord. As we age, the spinal discs can become more brittle as do the rest of our tissues with suboptimal care and nutrition. This can cause herniated discs, bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis in poor movements conditons.

Degenerative Disc Symptoms

The degeneration of spinal discs may cause no symptoms at all, and symptoms depend on each patient and the severity of their case.

Pain may occur at the site of the affected disc in the back or neck. As the pain is often caused by compressed nerves, this pain can also travel to other areas of the body like the buttocks, arms, and legs. Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs may also be experienced. Pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating.

Degenerative Disc Treatment

Pain caused by degeneration is often treated with hot or cold packs and an anti inflammatory medication. When disc degeneration causes problems like herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, or osteoarthritis, other forms of treatment may be beneficial. This may include physical therapy, chiropractic care, stretching, and in some cases, surgery. While degenerative disc disease is a common part of aging, there are things you can do to prevent pain and stay healthy. If you are experiencing frequent back or neck pain, be sure to schedule with our office for an examination so we can help educate you on your options for both "in-office" and "self-care" solutions options.

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