9 Things To Avoid with Degenerative Disc Disease
Have you been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (DDD)? Wondering what to do? Well, let’s start with what NOT to do.
If you have degenerative disc disease (DDD) you should avoid returning to normal activities too soon, resting too long, heavy lifting, sudden jerking movements, wearing high-heeled shoes, sitting on furniture that is abnormally low, twisting your back, and jogging, and putting off getting a back adjustment at a chiropractor near you. Each of these items can put unnecessary strain on your back.
Now, let’s delve into each of these 9 things to avoid degenerative disc disease a little more…
One of the main issues with degenerative disc disease (DDD) is that, in the beginning, you might not be suffering many symptoms and may not even know that something is wrong. Pain may come and go, or may develop to a constant level of discomfort over the course of several weeks.
If you suspect that something is wrong with your back or neck, there are a number of things you should consider doing or, rather, not doing, as soon as you are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. These include:
1. Put Off Seeing a Chiropractor
Don’t put off seeing a chiropractor or doctor to get an official diagnosis and proper treatment. The more time that you let your DDD develop and progress on its own, the more likely further complications can arise. Degenerative disc disease progresses fast if not treated.
Complications can include things like herniated discs and other spinal ailments. Some of these conditions can cause permanent damage if left untreated. A herniated disc, for example, will often press in onto a nearby nerve. And the nerve can only take so much. After a certain amount of aggravation, permanent nerve damage may result.
2. Return to Normal Activities Too Soon
Don’t jump the gun and return to your normal activities and routine until your chiropractor or doctor tells you you can do so. Many people will start treatment and, as soon as they start to feel better, will rush back into their normal activities immediately. However, DDD is a serious condition that needs time to heal.
Even if you are feeling better, there may still be issues in your spinal discs that you just can’t feel. These issues will still need to be corrected and healed, otherwise, you run the risk of complications returning and creating a whole slew of new problems sometime down the road. You are far better off following through on your entire treatment plan and waiting until your chiropractor or doctor gives you the go-ahead before returning to your usual routine.
3. Rest Too Long
Don’t rest too much or too long. Generally speaking, with degenerative disc disease, a slipped disc, or other back issues, you should only rest about 48 – 72 hours. After that, you really should try to get up and start moving around. Otherwise, your inactivity may begin to cause further damage to your spine. And you don’t want that!
4. Heavy Lifting
Avoid doing any heavy lifting. Your chiropractor should give you a recommendation of weight not to exceed. This may vary from individual to individual, but usually will be in the 5 – 10 pound range.
5. Sudden Jerking Movements
Avoid activities that involve sudden jerking movements that can further aggravate any issues you have in your spine. This can include activities like certain amusement park rides or even something as simple as dancing.
6. Wearing High Heeled Shoes
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. Such shoes change the natural alignment of your feet which, in turn, alters the distribution of pressure through the feet, the legs and the spine. This may, ultimately, have a detrimental impact on your posture which can worsen DDD issues and other back problems.
7. Sitting on Furniture that Is Abnormally Low
Avoid sitting on bean bag chairs and other types of furniture that are abnormally low to the ground. Even if you get in and get comfortable, you’ll likely have a heck of a time getting out and getting back on your feet. The whole sitting and standing process involved with such furniture may aggravate your spinal issues.
8. Twisting Your Back
Avoid those activities and exercises that twist your back or produce unnecessary strain on your spine. This includes some straight leg exercises like straight leg sit-ups.
Don’t go running or jogging before your chiropractor or doctor gives you the official okay. While walking is a great exercise for someone with degenerative disc disease, running and/or jogging produces far too many jarring impacts that can aggravate the condition. This may lead to the development of herniated discs or other spinal conditions associated with degenerative disc disease.
If you avoid these activities and things, it will go a long way in helping heal your degenerative disc disease. At the very least, it will keep you from inadvertently causing further injury or damage to your spine and discs.
Conservative Methods to Help with Degenerative Disc Disease
Now that you’ve seen all the things you should avoid with DDD, you might be wondering about what proactive steps you can take to help heal the condition. There are several conservative avenues for treating degenerative disc disease. But here, we’ll just look at two of the most common and effective: exercise and chiropractic care.
Exercises that Can Help with Degenerative Disc Disease
Although some exercises, like jogging and running, are bad for patients with degenerative disc disease, exercise is still regarded by chiropractors as an effective avenue of treatment for most spinal issues including DDD.
The trick is that you just have to do the right exercises and avoid those that will aggravate the condition. The right exercises, like walking, for example, can improve your overall health and serve to reverse some of the damage DDD can cause. Walking, in conjunction with chiropractic care, can help get a slipped disc back in place. Other good exercises for a patient with degenerative disc disease include:
Rehabilitative Therapy Exercises
These types of exercises have proven themselves to be highly effective and beneficial for patients suffering from DDD. These exercises can target specific areas so as to strengthen the back, neck, and core muscles. This, in turn, will help support the spine and reduce pressure on the spinal column. The end result: is less pain, increased range of motion, and better quality of life.
Yoga is one of the best exercise systems out there for correcting musculoskeletal issues like spinal problems and posture. It originates from India where it is heavily intertwined with the culture and religious institutions of Indian society. Practitioners of yoga will take and hold certain body positions that are designed to stretch and strengthen particular muscles and hold such positions for a certain period of time. Not every yoga pose will be suitable for an individual struggling with DDD, but many will. Some yoga poses that are helpful for herniated discs (a common problem with DDD) include:
- Child’s Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Mountain Pose
- Warrior II Pose
- And Corpse Pose
As always, it’s usually a bad idea to take up yoga on your own to deal with a medical condition. You should always seek out a qualified yoga instructor to help you. Find out our top recommended yoga studios in Anchorage, Alaska.
Chiropractic Care and Degenerative Disc Disease
Chiropractic care is another effective way of treating degenerative disc disease. Because chiropractors are experts in the musculoskeletal system, they are highly qualified to diagnose and treat a whole slew of spinal conditions including DDD.
A case study in Science Direct discusses how a 74-year-old man with low back pain and degenerative disc disease was effectively treated with Activator-assisted spinal manipulative therapy. (1) The end result was positive both subjectively and objectively for both pain levels and movement.
Another case study in the National Library of Medicine involved a 66-year-old female client who was suffering from cervical degenerative disc disease (DDD in the neck). (2) Massage therapy was used with positive results: specifically, pain levels decreased while the range of motion and engagement with normal daily activities improved.
When dealing with spinal issues like DDD, chiropractors have a number of tools that they can use. These tools include things like spinal adjustments, chiropractic massage, and manual manipulation.
The particular treatment details of a patient with DDD will be largely determined by the stage that the disease is in. Given that, though, there are a couple of rules of thumb.
First, conservative non-invasive treatments like chiropractic care and physical therapy are usually tried before heavy-hitting procedures like surgery or high-powered painkillers.
Second, chiropractors usually use a well-rounded, holistic, multifaceted approach that incorporates multiple types of treatment. In other words, if you go to a chiropractor you may be prescribed chiropractic care as well as other things like physical therapy, chiropractic massage, and even dietary/supplement suggestions.
All such treatments are used in tandem. In our experience, chiropractic care used in conjunction with physical therapy (and other therapies) is far more effective than using either type of treatment on its own.
See a Highly Recommended Chiropractor
As you can see, if you suffer from degenerative disc disease, you are not simply at the mercy of your illness. You can take an active role in your health by avoiding the things mentioned above, and seeking out chiropractic care.
To help Alaskans suffering from DDD, among other things, we offer chiropractic adjustments included in our Alaska Back Pain Protocol. We’ve seen remarkable success over the years.