You may not realize it, but you probably have Degenerative Disc Disease. The term “Degenerative Disc Disease” is misleading. It isn’t really a disease, but rather wear and tear that happens with time. It is a part of aging. You may have some degeneration of your discs over time. Not everyone will experience pain because of it.
Some factors that may increase disc degeneration include heavy lifting and obesity, because of increased pressure on the spine. Back injuries, genetics and other spinal diseases may also contribute to Degenerative Disc Disease. Smoking is a lifestyle factor that also contributes to the breakdown of the discs.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease include stiffness and loss of motion in your back or spine. You may also experience pain in your neck, lower back, or radiating to your extremities (for example, sciatica, radiculopathy). It is related to osteoarthritis, which is not caused by age, but rather a lack of movement.
Surgery should always be a last resort. There are many things you can do to alleviate pain and decrease symptoms. While you can’t regain disc height space, you can increase mobility. Movement is key to your spine. Anything you can do to keep it moving will help. This includes:
Stretching. This is especially needed if you sit a lot of your day. Take the time to get up and stretch regularly. Strengthening exercises. Doing exercises to strengthen your back will help with pain. Walking. A simple, low-impact exercise is walking. It is a great way to get your spine moving the way it was intended to. Chiropractic manipulation. Getting regular adjustments will help increase the motion you have in your spine.
Some lifestyle adaptations you can make include avoiding nicotine and alcohol and drinking lots of water. Water not only flushes your system of toxins, it also keeps your discs lubricated. Make sure you have ergonomic furniture and pillows for back support when you are sitting or sleeping. If you are experiencing pain, try ice and massage before you reach for the bottle of pain reliever.
Dr. Ty Hall of East Valley Chiropractic helps patients overcome the negative effects of Degenerative Disc Disease. He helps people increase mobility in their spine and alleviate painful symptoms like radicular pain and sciatica. If you are ready to increase mobility, decrease pain and limit the effects of disc degeneration, make an appointment today.