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Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

What It is Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is usually identified with aging. As a person ages, the disc and other body joints deteriorate and break down. Your body tends to be problematic as you grow older due to years of strain, overuse, and misuse. Degenerative disc disease can occur in very young people, some patients inherit genetic predisposition of a prematurely aging spine.

As you age, the pillow-like cushions between the vertebrae in your spine called intervertebral discs lose elasticity, flexibility, and shock absorbing components. They become thinner as they lose water content causing restrictions in movement, that bring about pain. Developing this disease is not a gradual process.

What Makes Up the Spine

There are 33 vertebrae in your backbone or vertebral column. The vertebrae are the series of small bones that form the backbone or spine.
The spine is divided into parts:
1.The cervical spine or the neck
2.The thoracic spine or the mid-back
3.The lumbar spine or the low back
4.The lower end of your spine is the sacrum and the coccyx, which is commonly called the tailbone.

Degenerative disc disease usually occurs in your lumbar or cervical spine.

Intervertebral Disc

Intervertebral discs lie in between the vertebrae. These act as shock absorbers for your spine as it moves. Degenerative disc disease makes the disc unable to cushion movements. Additionally, degenerative disc disease could lead to a bulging disc or herniated disc.

The vertebrae and the discs provide a spinal canal that secures the spinal nerves and spinal cords. The nerves that are running through the center of the vertebrae are responsible for the body movements.

Facet Joints and Cartilage

Facet joints are on the back or posterior side of your vertebrae and help your body remain flexible. The cartilage covers the spinal joints to protect your bones as you move. Without cartilage, your bones would rub together resulting in extreme pain.

Tendons, Muscles, Blood Vessels, and Ligaments

Your back also has tendons, muscles, blood vessels, and ligaments. Tendons join the muscles and bones. Muscles are the strands of tissues that help the body move. Blood vessels transport blood throughout the body. Ligaments are flexible bands of connective tissues. They all work together in order for your body to freely move.


Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

Older people are most susceptible to develop degenerative disc disease. It is typically the result of aging, but sometimes, even younger people can experience symptoms. Injuries can also cause the degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease causes the disc to lose their ability in cushioning movements. The protein or the collagen gradually weakens due to loss of water content in your disc. Fluids are crucial to maintaining bodily movement. When you have the degenerative disc disease, the molecules that attract water in your disc decrease, making the disc become hard and inflexible.

Ways to Deal with Disc Degeneration

Bed rest for a few days
Refrain from activities that increase the pain
Do light exercise like walking or swimming as recommended by your doctor

Will I Need Surgery 

Some think that they need a surgery especially when the symptoms worsen. But the truth is, you do not need to undergo a surgery to eliminate the pain. Chiropractors can definitely help relieve the pain by using chiropractic methods. A recent study from the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found chiropractic care can reduce pain associated with degenerative disc disease. Chiropractors will do thorough examinations and they will determine areas of restricted joint motion, muscle spasm, ligament injury and disc injury by performing tests, like x-ray or MRI. They will also look at your overall posture – how you walk and move. These details will help them to understand your body mechanics and how your spine moves.

Call Beyond Wellness Chiropractic Center and get the treatment that is truly efficient and effective.

“From my experience, personal connections and continuous care are the most important things. Therefore I always take the time to get to know my patients.”
Dr. Paula Harris
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