Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a broad and somewhat misleading term that describes a wide range of conditions caused by the deterioration of various spinal components, usually as the result of the natural aging process. First, degenerative disc disease is not an actual disease. You cannot contract this condition from another person, although you can be predisposed to it, either genetically or because you routinely subject your spine to a lot of stress. Further complicating matters is that there is no medial consensus on which conditions are a part of this group of disorders. Most doctors include bulging, herniated and collapsed discs in the mix, but each of these can lead to further degenerative conditions such as spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis. Whether or not these can be described as DDD depends on who you ask.
One popular nonsurgical treatment option for degenerative disc disease is massage therapy. Massage has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, as it can relieve muscle tension around the injury site. In many cases, a patient’s pain is caused by overstrained muscles which can lead to stiffness, weakness and muscle cramps, especially in the lower back. Deep tissue massage performed by a licensed therapist can:
- Force acid and waste toxins out of the tissue
- Improve flexibility
- Increase blood flow
- Reduce muscle soreness
- Increase endorphin levels in the brain
- Lower fluid retention
Other conservative degenerative disc treatment options include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, losing weight, stretching and exercises. Alternative strategies may include acupuncture, meditation, yoga and decompression therapy. In many cases, patients can find significant relief from their symptoms using a combination of these treatments. Sometimes, however, surgery may be required to provide long-term pain management.
USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are often clinically appropriate and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^ If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and are still experiencing chronic pain despite months of conservative treatment therapies, you may be a candidate for our surgeries. To find out, contact a member of our team today and ask how you can obtain a free MRI review* as the first step in the screening process.
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