Degenerative disc/s is a condition where the wearing down of the spinal discs causes pain and discomfort. All of our spines go through this, but not everybody feels pain. Chiropractic care is a treatment option for degenerative disc disease (DDD). The first step is to determine the disc-related problem.
During an initial evaluation, your chiropractor will review your medical history, along with a discussion about current symptoms and the possible causes.
With degenerative disc/s the main symptom is back pain. A chiropractor will examine potential causes:
- How the mechanics of the spine are operating.
- Thinning discs could bulge and place added pressure on the nerves of the spine.
- Spinal stenosis can also cause back and leg pain.
A physical and neurological exam can pinpoint problem areas, like:
- Where joint motion is restricted
- Range of motion
- Abnormal spinal curvature
- Muscle spasms
- Trigger points
- An injury like a sprain or strain
There are different reasons why your neck or back may hurt, and your examination may include some basic tests. Observance of how you walk, and overall posture. This will help to observe body mechanics and how your spine moves. Imaging tests like x-rays or MRI are common to find the problem area and cause. The chiropractor will diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan for pain alleviation.
The disc/s can lose their integrity, and begin to thin and possibly tear. This increases unwanted pressure on nerves and creates friction between the vertebrae. Degenerative disc disease can go through various stages. With the progression, the negative symptoms become more pronounced.
The first stage of degenerative disc disease may go unnoticed by the individual but can be identified by a chiropractor or other medical professional. The loss of the natural curvature of the spine can indicate the beginning of degenerative disc disease. Pain may not be apparent, but extra pressure is being placed on the spine which can lead to more rapid aging of the spine, nerves, joints, etc.
The degradation of discs becomes more apparent in the second stage. They may look thinner, and it is common to see deformations in the bone, such as bone spurs. The curvature of the spine will become more unnatural and the spinal canal may become more narrow. Stage 2 is often where you will begin to notice some pain and discomfort.
Stage 3 is marked by a more extreme change in the posture and curvature of the spine, along with more pain and loss of mobility. Nerve damage is common and scar tissue typically begins to form. Discs are even thinner than before, which can sometimes cause even more deformation of the bones.
The final stage of degenerative disc disease is the most severe and is typically considered irreversible. Discs are at their thinnest or gone altogether. The flexibility of the spine is extremely limited and pain is often considerable. Nerve damage can be severe and the bones of the spine may even begin to fuse together.
Chiropractic care is a preferred treatment for degenerative disc/s disease. Because it is gentle and non-invasive, chiropractic does not create undesirable side effects like prescription meds and surgery are more prone to do. The earlier the stage of the disease, the more successful the treatment. But chiropractic can help even in the most extreme cases. The goal of chiropractic is to improve joint mechanics with improved spinal motion and reduced inflammation. The chiropractor may also work on improving the function of the intervertebral discs.
Treatments can include:
One of the most effective treatments is to ensure the spine is in proper alignment. Loss of alignment, which can happen due to injury or just regular wear and tear, puts extra stress on the spine which can accelerate disc/s degradation. Adjustments bring the body back into proper alignment.
- Spinal manipulation will identify the joints that are restricted or those that have abnormal motion. They will use a gentle thrusting technique.
- Flexion-distraction technique uses a gentle, non-thrusting technique that is typically used to treat herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation uses a hand-held instrument. The chiropractor or therapist applies gentle force without thrusting directly into the spine.
A physical therapist can perform different types of massage to reduce muscle tension. Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques can also relieve pain and other symptoms.
Trigger point therapy
Here tight painful points on a muscle/s are identified and places direct pressure on these points to relieve tension.
Spinal decompression uses gentle but firm pressure to bring space back between the vertebrae. Space allows blood flow to return and healing to happen. Decompression is an important treatment to complement adjustments.
A low-frequency electrical current stimulates your muscles and reduces inflammation.
This type can help reduce muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain with sound waves that penetrate deep into your muscle tissues. This creates a gentle heat and enhances blood circulation.
With chiropractic, prevention is the key, and therapeutic exercises can prevent symptoms from getting worse. Seek treatment for your back and neck pain now. Our team can help you feel better and educate you on living a healthier life. Your chiropractor will work hard to treat you and address all your symptoms. Chiropractors treat the whole body and not just symptoms.
El Paso, TX Herniated Disc Treatment
A disc can also herniate and place pressure on the nerves that flow into the feet, and cause pain, tingling, and numbness. The wear and tear of the spine combined with a herniated disc can pinch the nerves that go to the feet.