What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is actually not a disease at all, but a condition in which an injured or compromised disc causes pain in the lower back. The discs in our spinal cords are connected by cartilage. Each disc is made up of a hard rubbery exterior and a soft gel like inner substance. As the inner workings of the spine deteriorate with age, the ability to absorb shock from the body's movements can lead to herniated and bulging discs, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis.
What are the symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
In many cases, pain is the main symptom of this condition, and it is usually caused by nerves that become compressed. Pain is not always isolated in the back, and can show up in other areas of the body causing numbness or tingling in areas like the buttocks, arms, and legs. Pain can be mild or very severe, and symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient. Sometimes there are no symptoms from degeneration of the spine, so it is important to have a chiropractor evaluate your spine regularly.
What causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
The material in our spine wears away as we age. Discs in the spine will eventually suffer from tears and loss of fluid. As we age, the discs become smaller and the ability to remain flexible and absorb shock lessens. Other factors such as repetitive physical work, obesity, smoking, and injuries can also lead to this condition in addition to aging.
What are some treatment options for Degenerative Disc Disease?
Hot and cold packs are typically used to effectively reduce the pain caused by disc degeneration. Medications that reduce inflammation are also helpful. When more severe symptoms present themselves, such as bulging or herniated discs, other types of treatments such as physical therapy, special stretching techniques, and sometimes surgery are often recommended. Depending on the severity of the degeneration, our chiropractors will recommend the best treatment options available. Prevention is the most important factor in avoiding this disease. If you have been frequently experiencing neck or back pain, visit us today for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan.