What Are the Treatment Options for Disc Degeneration? What Does a Chiropractor Do for Disc Degeneration?

While there is a large array of options for treating and managing back pain, chiropractors use non-invasive methods. Chiropractic treatment for disc degeneration by allowing more space between the vertebrae, which prevents the nerves from becoming pinched.

The goal of chiropractic care is to improve the mechanics of the joints by reducing inflammation, creating more space, and improving the overall function of the spinal column. As the nerves are compressed more and more by the degenerating discs, they lead to pain, numbness, and a loss of feeling in the extremities.

Chiropractic care will involve adjustments, manual therapies, including manual joint stretching and resistance techniques, as well as instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, such as the Graston technique, which reduces pain and other symptoms, or other modalities, such as a TENS device.

The exact treatment plan will depend on your circumstances and the current state of the degeneration. The more advanced the degeneration, the more difficult it will be to reduce pain. Seeing your chiropractor as early as possible is the key to slowing the progression of this disease.

What Does Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau Do to Provide Relief from Disc Degeneration?

Our treatment programs contain elements of chiropractic care – including adjustments – physical/occupational therapy or rehabilitation, and chiropractic massage therapy. Treatment should be holistic, taking lifestyle, exercise regimens, and nutrition into account as well.

Your chiropractor at Better Health Chiropractic is an expert in the spine and the discs, as well as the central nervous system. Your treatment plan will depend on your health and the condition of the discs when you first begin treatment.

Since degenerative disc disease cannot be cured or reversed, the chiropractor at Better Health Chiropractic will work to manage your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Methods to do this will include advice regarding anti-inflammatory supplements, regular chiropractic massages, trigger point therapy to reduce painful areas, and modalities to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, including an electrical stimulation device called a TENS unit, ultrasound and/or cold laser therapy.

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 the 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, qualified chiropractor.

What Is Disc Degeneration?

Glad you asked! Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is fundamentally a very natural part of the aging process and one way or another all people experience a degree of the condition. Whether through age or injury, the condition means an intervertebral disc is degenerating, typically in the lumbar and cervical regions. Then, this degenerated disc may start trouble leading to the breakdown of other parts of a joint (osteoporosis), herniations, bulging discs, or spinal stenosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Disc Degeneration?

First, pain, tingling, and numbness that may or may not get worse over time may occur. For some it comes and goes (perhaps during work) and isn’t much of a bother. For others, the condition can lead to debilitating episodes of pain – in the morning, while bending over, at the gym, after prolonged sitting, etc. During these episodes, folks often feel like the back has “gone out” due to reactive muscle spasms. Symptoms can vary depending on the person, and location of the degenerated disc.

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What Causes Disc Degeneration?

Aging for most, or in other words the slow degeneration of discs through the loss of disc fluid and tiny tears or cracks in the outer annulus layer. This translates into less flexibility and stability and may eventually lead to bulges or herniations. Bone spurs are also common as a result of the vertebrae being too close to one another causing inflammation, pain, and impacted nerve function. Sudden injuries and trauma can kickstart degeneration as well. Some common risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Manual Labor

What Are the Different Types of Disc Degeneration?

While spinal disc degeneration can happen to any disc, below are the two most common types we see in our Better Health Chiropractic clinics in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau. Also, consider that once one disc is damaged, it can lead to issues elsewhere on the spine.

  • Degeneration of Lumbar Intervertebral Disc: The lower back is the most susceptible because it bears much of the weight of the body and absorbs the most impact.
  • Degeneration of Cervical Intervertebral Disc: Symptoms of neck pain may be localized and tempered, or radiate into the shoulders and arms.

What Are the Treatment Options for Disc Degeneration?

You have a large array of options for treating and managing back pain, from the noninvasive which we practice at Better Health Chiropractic, to the surgical. Our treatment programs contain elements of chiropractic care – including adjustments – physical/occupational therapy or rehabilitation, and chiropractic massage therapy. Treatment should be holistic, taking lifestyle, exercise regimens, and nutrition into account as well.

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Can Disc Degeneration Be Reversed?

While the wording indicates it’s a degenerative disease, it’s misleading. For most, the symptoms of disc degeneration increase slowly over time. If you’re wondering what that looks like, imagine a spinal column where multiple vertebrae have very little to no disc fluid between them, limiting mobility, flexibility, and function. You can address a bulging or herniated disc by working to realign individual vertebra in the spine. You can realign your spinal column through chiropractic adjustments and associated treatments. But, no one can stop the aging process, at least not yet.

Exercises & Stretches for Disc Degeneration

In the two previous sections we spoke about exercises and stretches for herniated discs, and bulging discs. They’re not just great for treatment once symptoms like back pain appear, but preventative in nature as well. Whether you’re currently experiencing back pain or not, getting into the habit of empowering your spine is a great idea.

Is Disc Degeneration Hereditary?

There are definitely associations that can be drawn between family history, or your genes, and disc issues like chronic lower back pain. Some new studies have ‘indicated’ this or that, but honestly, we still don’t have enough conclusive evidence to make universal statements on the matter. If your parent(s) had spinal problems, will you? Maybe. Your genes, lifestyle choices including nutrition, and environment all play a role over time.

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