Chiropractor for Degenerative Disc Disease
Chiropractor for disc degeneration in Anchorage and Juneau: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is incredibly common. For some, it has no symptoms and no pain. For others, the pain can be severe. Luckily, studies show that chiropractic care is an effective treatment for disc degeneration.
As discs in the spine degenerate, which is common as we age, it can cause pain through pinched nerves in the spine. And since chiropractors are spinal specialists, they can help to relieve pain from disc degeneration. They do this in a number of ways, including spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and rehabilitative exercises.
So read on to find out more about the treatment of degenerative disc disease. We’ll dive into some studies that show just how effective chiropractic care is for disc degeneration.
Can a Chiropractor Help With Degenerative Disc Disease: What the Science Says
Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive option that many people utilize to great effect each year. Yet, much of the public is still unclear on what chiropractors can help with.
But, this is slowly changing as more and more studies are published which highlight the benefits of chiropractic care for ailments like degenerative disc disease. Chiropractors have been offering science-based natural remedies for herniated discs and other disc problems for a long time.
So, we’ll take a look at some recent and not-so-recent studies that show how effective chiropractic care can be for these issues.
Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
One recent study of 96 patients with degenerative disc disease in the low back is a great example of chiropractic’s efficacy. The patients were split into two groups, each with 48 people. The experimental group received flexion-distraction spinal manipulations while the control group did not. A variety of measurements were taken to judge the effects of the manipulations.
The results are stunning. The group that received the flexion-distraction treatment experienced significantly more relief and mobility than the control group. Pain decreased among these patients and mobility increased so much that the authors of the study suggest this type of chiropractic care could be viable for those with lumbar degenerative disc disease.
Severe Pain to No Pain
This case study shows just how quickly chiropractic care can help those with degenerative disc disease. The study discusses the treatment of a 74-year-old man with severe pain, loss of feeling in his legs, and an inability to walk without using a walker.
The chiropractor treated this man with activator-assisted manipulative therapy techniques with the primary aim to relieve pain and improve movement. After only two weeks, the man said his pain had disappeared. After a total of four sessions, the man could walk again without the walker. Follow-up a year and nine months later revealed that the man was still doing well, with assessment scores above average for his age.
A Randomized Control Trial
This study, published in 2014, involved 40 men with degenerative disc disease. The men were split into two groups, one group undergoing high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation and the other group receiving a placebo intervention.
The control group showed no improvement at the end of the study, whereas the spinal manipulation group showed significant improvement in all factors. Their pain improved, spinal mobility improved, and hip flexion also improved.
These studies are just a few that show how effective seeing a chiropractor for disc degeneration can be. At Better Health Chiropractic, we have always based our treatments on evidence from high-quality studies. We also use the latest technology and innovations to help our patients get back to their pain-free lives as quickly as possible.
Do Steroid Injections Work for Degenerative Disc Disease?
Since chiropractic care is non-invasive, your chiropractor will never prescribe steroids or any other kind of injections. If your chiropractor determines that a different treatment will be best for you, he or she will involve a specialist or will consult with your physician.
That said, it’s good to know what the science says about steroid injections because they’re commonly used for those with disc issues. This study of 232 patients found that steroid injections were only effective for a small number of people with degenerative disc disease. And that beneficial effect was determined to be largely short-term, with pain recurring within two years.
Our Clinic Locations
Better Health Chiropractic Anchorage
Anchorage, AK 99515
Open Hours: 9AM to 7PM
Better Health Chiropractic Juneau
2201 Dunn Street, #2, Juneau, Alaska 99801
Open Hours: 9AM to 7PM
How Does a Chiropractor Help Degenerative Disc Disease?
Through spinal manipulation, your chiropractor can relieve pain by removing pressure from the very sensitive spinal column. There are a variety of back and neck adjustment techniques that chiropractors use to accomplish this. By restoring blood flow to the area and reducing muscle tension, pain relief occurs almost instantaneously.
Back doctors have a few things they do for back pain. Of course, it all depends on the patient’s diagnosis, but these are overarching treatments:
- Manual manipulation will increase the range of motion and release endorphins, which are the natural painkillers of the body.
Your chiropractor is a highly trained specialist in this area and can offer a great many other solutions to help ease your pain and manage your flare-ups, including trigger point therapy and other modalities, such as low-level laser light therapy, heat therapy, ultrasound, and spinal decompression.
- Chiropractic care is a drug-free, non-invasive means of helping your body heal itself, as nature intended it to.
After your diagnosis and a complete exam, your chiropractor will determine a treatment plan that works for your specific situation.
Degenerative Disc Disease Chiropractic Treatment Techniques
Manual manipulation and spinal adjustments, as mentioned above, are the most common treatment options for degenerative disc disease, but there many types of these spinal adjustments. Which specific kind of adjustment you get depends on your body, your pain levels, and what the chiropractic doctor determines from the initial physical exam and medical history.
The best chiropractic care is multifaceted, meaning you may also experience other beneficial treatment therapies, such as chiropractic massage and rehabilitation therapy.
This type of massage differs from a spa massage in that the massage therapist will be working under the direct guidance of your chiropractor. The doctor will discuss your needs and the areas where he specifically sees problems and guides the massage therapist on where and what type of massage would work best for you.
- Chiropractic massage releases tension and stress, relaxes muscles, and leads to feelings of self-care and comfort, as well as pain relief and faster healing from improved circulation.
Numerous studies show that massage has multiple benefits and is highly recommended for most people, even cancer patients, as a means of pain relief.
We’ve found rehabilitative therapy to be incredibly beneficial for those with degenerative disc disease.
- These exercises and stretching programs strengthen the core muscles and the muscles of the neck and back to better support the spine, which will reduce pain by releasing pressure on the spinal column.
Your chiropractor will show you a series of exercises and have you perform these in their presence to ensure that you are doing them correctly. These can reduce the severity and duration of any pain flare-ups when practiced on a regular basis.
These types of stretching and strengthening exercises have been shown to be very effective in reducing pain, increasing range of motion, and even improving quality of life.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression
Depending on the level of your disc degeneration, your chiropractor may perform spinal decompression to relieve the pressure on your spine, which is often the cause of pain from degenerating discs.
- This is a pain-free, non-invasive technique that is usually done with the help of a specially designed machine. The sessions last around 30 to 45 minutes, and many patients feel better after a single session!
When to See a Chiropractor for Degenerative Disc Disease?
As soon as you are diagnosed with this health problem or as soon as you begin to feel pain in your back or neck that doesn’t go away with rest or that continues to reoccur despite home treatment methods.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. While some pain is temporary in nature, including back pain and stiffness the day after you work for hours in the garden, other pain is consistent or returns again and again. For disc degeneration, the pain will get worse with time, usually starting in the back, then radiating out to other areas, such as down the legs. These are the pain signals that should not be ignored.
You might also experience muscle spasms, tingling, or numbness in the shoulders, buttocks, or toes. As this disease progresses, you might experience intense episodes of pain that get worse with sitting or bending over but seem to get better when walking or lying down.
While there is no cure or reversal for degenerative disc disease, you can slow the progression with early treatment from a highly skilled chiropractor.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Sometimes, other issues, such as bulging discs, can have similar symptoms to DDD. Your chiropractor in Anchorage can determine if the pain you are experiencing is due to degenerative disc disease or from some other issue, such as spinal stenosis.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain, sometimes intense, usually in the neck or lower back but can occur anywhere in the spine
- Weakness or numbness in the legs
- Sitting hurts more than standing
- Twisting or bending can also make the pain worse
- A burning feeling in the neck or lower back
- Stiffness or soreness in the neck or back that doesn’t go away
What Are the Causes of DDD?
Osteoporosis and arthritis are major contributors to this problem, injuries and age also play their part.
It is not uncommon to see 30- or 35-year-olds with degenerative disc disease. They often wonder how they are going to manage when they are 60, but the strange thing about discs is that by 60 or 70, the discs have dried out so much that they actually cause less pain for most people.
It is rare to see someone in their 60s or 70s who does not have some degeneration of the discs in their spine, however, they feel little or no pain.
Your chiropractor can order an MRI, which will clearly show where the degeneration is occurring and if there are any abnormalities in the spine. As many as 30% of persons who suffer from DDD have some type of spine abnormality.
It is unclear why some people will suffer from degeneration of the discs in the spine and others do not.
Chiropractor for Disc Degeneration: Conclusion
There are three main ways that the medical community treats degenerative disc disease these days: chiropractic care, spinal injection, and surgery. As the studies above show, chiropractic care is safe, beneficial, and effective. It’s a form of conservative care that should be pursued before other potentially dangerous options like injections and surgery.
At Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab, we use science-based degenerative disc treatments that include a multifaceted approach. By using spinal adjustments, massage therapy, physical rehab, and spinal decompression, we offer our patients convenient and effective options. We’ve helped thousands of Alaskans with degenerative disc disease already, and we’d love to help you.
Contact us at one of our Anchorage or Juneau clinics today to get started!