Home » Spine Conditions » Degenerative Disc Disease » Can degenerative disc disease be prevented?
By far, the most common cause of degenerative disc disease is age-related spinal degeneration. As a result of ongoing wear and tear, this condition often develops gradually over time when the cushioning spinal discs lose volume and effectiveness. As the discs break down, the vertebrae can move closer together and eventually come in contact with each other. Additionally, a bulging or herniated disc can invade nerve pathways and press on the spinal cord or a nerve root.
Because degenerative disc disease is a consequence of the natural aging process, it affects almost all adults age 40 and older to some degree. But, even though the condition is largely unavoidable, there are steps you can take to help keep your spine as healthy as possible throughout your life.
To promote the health of your spine and help prevent degenerative disc disease, you should always:
- Drink plenty of water. As your spinal discs naturally lose water content, these spongy structures will become less effective at cushioning your spine. By staying well hydrated, you can help your spinal discs remain strong and supple. Drinking water can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is important because even a few extra pounds can place a significant amount of stress on your spine.
- Eat a healthy diet. The foods you eat can supply your bones with the necessary nutrients to retain their density over time. With proper nutrition, your spinal vertebrae will stay healthier and better able to support your body’s weight. Some foods that promote good bone health include leafy green vegetables, whole grain pastas and bread, fish, nuts and dairy products.
- Strengthen the muscles that support your spine. If your spine does not have proper support, the impact of daily activity will be even more significant. Muscles are much more capable than the spine of withstanding the pressures of walking, bending and twisting. Therefore, it’s important to participate in an exercise routine that includes both aerobic and strength-training exercises to build your core and abdominal muscles.
As always, you should consult closely with your doctor when engaging in any treatments or lifestyle changes to make sure there is no negative effect on your condition.
If you’re starting to notice early signs of degenerative disc disease, such as back pain that improves when you sit or lie down, you are encouraged to see a physician who can provide an accurate diagnosis and individualized advice. Oftentimes, any issues that result from this condition can be successfully managed with a conservative approach, such as exercise, hot/cold therapy and medications.
With that said, if your discomfort is severe and nonsurgical treatments do not provide the relief you need, you may want to talk with the experts at USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive spine procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice for treating degenerative disc disease when compared to open neck or back surgery.^
To learn more about treatment options for degenerative disc disease, contact USA Spine Care today and ask for a review of your recent MRI report or CT scan, at no cost,* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.
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