Any time you’re suffering from back or neck pain, a trip to the chiropractor can make all the difference. This is true no matter what the underlying cause of your pain is, although our treatment methods will vary depending on the nature of your condition. In the case of disc degeneration, or degenerative disc disease, chiropractic care can provide relief from symptoms and a non-invasive method for managing your condition so that you can maintain the lifestyle and activity level of your choice.
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe the wearing down of your intervertebral discs over time. While it’s not technically a disease, it is a chronic condition, and it generally afflicts older adults. It’s most commonly found in the neck or lumbar regions of the spine, as these are the areas that move the most as you go about your daily activities.
Although disc degeneration on its own will not likely lead to a permanent disability or progressively worsening symptoms, it can cause other issues to develop or to progress more quickly. These include osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The main symptoms of disc degeneration are a low-level but constant pain in the affected area, with intermittent flare-ups of more intense pain that can last days or weeks. The constant pain is the result of inflammation and muscle tension, while the flare-ups are often caused by unnatural micro-motions of the vertebrae that are made possible due to the diminished nature of the disc. These micro motions may cause impingement of a nerve, or they may simply exacerbate existing muscle tension and strain.
Diagnosing disc degeneration requires a combination of tests and physical exams that together provide a comprehensive picture of the health of your spine. These physical tests examine your range of motion, strength, and reflexes, while diagnostic imaging provides a clear picture of what’s going on inside.
Professional Chiropractic Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
We’ll evaluate the precise cause of your symptoms, as disc degeneration can cause pain in a number of different ways. We’ll then develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
This will likely include a combination of specific spinal manipulation, instrument-assisted manipulation and use of the flexion-distraction technique to restore your spine to proper alignment. We may also utilize soft tissue treatments like therapeutic massage, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound to reduce tension and inflammation in the tissues around the affected area.