Degenerative disc disease is one of the more painful conditions affecting the spine and its associated bones, muscles, and nerves. It happens when there are changes to the jelly-like discs that separate the vertebrae, and almost always results in significant pain to the affected area.
In a normal healthy spine, the discs between the bones of the spine are intact and sit neatly between the bones. It is normal that there are some changes to the discs with time. The discs may slip, burst, or develop spots where they wear through. However, if these normal changes result in pain or discomfort, then degenerative disc disease may be the cause.
Other conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, such as spinal stenosis and many types of arthritis can result in degenerative disc disease as well.
If you have pain to your back that is affecting your work or recreational activities or preventing you from sleeping well, ask your chiropractor, physician, or other healthcare providers if degenerative disc disease may be at fault.
The following four treatments can help relieve pain and help you cope with the effects of degenerative disc disease regardless of severity.
A chiropractic adjustment is a powerful degenerative disc therapy that has the potential to relieve the pain associated with degenerative disc disease for good. In most people, it can provide a significant measure of pain relief.
A chiropractor will usually perform a physical examination and use this in conjunction with X-rays or other diagnostic imaging to create a plan of care. They will provide spinal manipulation using the hands to ensure the spine is correctly aligned and that inadequate innervation is not the cause of your pain.
Often, a chiropractor can also recommend other exercises and other alternative therapies that can decrease your symptoms and promote wellness.
Acupuncture may be one of the most underused and underrated degenerative disc remedies. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat all manner of bodily aches and pains, and back pain involving the discs is no exception.
An acupuncturist will insert tiny thin needles into different parts of the body to help relieve pain associated with degenerative disc disease. This is most effective for short-term pain relief, though some people receive longer-term benefits as well.
Exercises to Strengthen the Back
One of the best things you can do for the health of your back and spine is to do regular exercises that will increase the strength and muscle mass of the muscles that support the spine. This relieves the burden from the vertebral bones to support the entire body and makes the chances of any degenerative spinal condition worsening to be less likely.
If you are unsure of where to start with strength training or range of motion exercises, ask your physical therapist or chiropractor what exercises will benefit you the most.
Massage is an excellent therapeutic modality for all manner of back pain and musculoskeletal injuries, and pain associated with degenerative disc disease is no exception. Massage can help release and relax the surrounding muscles, promote mental relaxation, provide pain relief, and prevent you from focusing too much on the pain and discomfort you are experiencing.