Degenerative Disc Disease is not in fact a disease but a term used to describe the continuing changes in your spinal discs as you grow older. Spinal discs are soft discs that separate the bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine. Your discs act as “shock absorbers” for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most frequently occurs in the discs in the lower back and the neck.
Degenerative disc disease severely restricts a person’s quality of life and functionality. The symptoms can range from minor to severe. The changes in the discs can result in back or neck pain and/or osteoarthritis, herniated disc or spinal stenosis. These conditions may put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain and possibly affecting proper nerve function.
What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes include:
The loss of fluid in your discs. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae. People who are obese are also more likely to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease. A sudden (acute) injury leading to a herniated disc (such as a fall) may also begin the degeneration process.
What are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck pain, but this fluctuates from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same extent of disc damage have severe pain. Where the pain occurs depends on the location of the affected disc. An affected disc in the neck area may result in neck or arm pain, while an affected disc in the lower back may result in pain in the back, buttock, or leg.
Whatever the cause of pain, chiropractic treatment is a real and effective answer. Chiropractic manipulation or spinal adjustment is a treatment procedure for correcting a misaligned spine or joints and returning them to proper function. It is a principal treatment that chiropractors use for patients with back or neck pain. Chiropractic treatment helps to relieve pain, avert or reduce stress on discs, and puts patients back on the track to leading a full and productive life. One of the greatest advantages is that it avoids the need for surgery.
Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
Apart from reducing stress and inflammation, chiropractic care offers many other benefits:
- Strengthens the body
- Promotes natural healing
- Increases flexibility
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Increases vitality
- Improves blood circulation
- Reduces response to painful stimuli
- Improves body’s immunity
- Improves joint coordination
- Prevents injury