Degenerative disc disease is a progressive spinal condition, which means the associated pain and other symptoms can be expected to worsen with time. As the spinal discs age, they can become dehydrated, brittle and more susceptible to damage, which can lead to painful nerve compression. Aside from surgery, there is really no way to directly address these issues or prevent the condition from getting worse. With that said, there are some relatively simple steps you can take to help you live more comfortably with degenerative disc disease.
How to manage your degenerative disc disease symptoms
If your discomfort is relatively mild, you may find that you benefit from using some basic home remedies. For instance, you might apply a heating pad or ice pack to a painful area of your spine or take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed.
Here are some other things you can do to ease the pain caused by degenerative disc disease:
- Exercise regularly. One of the most effective ways to prevent degenerative spine symptoms from worsening is to follow a physician-approved workout program. Through regular exercise, you can strengthen the muscles that support your spine, allowing them to take on some of the weight burden that is straining your damaged discs. Physical activity can also help you lose excess pounds, maintain spinal flexibility, promote blood circulation and deliver healing nutrients to the tissues surrounding your spine.
- Protect your spine. Repetitive movements that involve bending, twisting and otherwise straining your spine can accelerate the breakdown of your discs. Think carefully about your daily routine — you can likely make some minor adjustments that will allow you to avoid body positions and movements that stress your discs and make you feel worse.
- Keep an open mind. Did you know that some people achieve good results with complementary treatments, such as therapeutic massage, chiropractic manipulation, yoga and acupuncture? Even though the effectiveness of these options is scientifically unproven and subject to some debate within the mainstream medical community, there’s really no harm in giving them a try if you’re interested.
One caveat worth mentioning: Nonsurgical treatments can be very effective, but in order to realize their full benefits, it’s essential to allow them enough time to work. Be sure to manage your expectations and don’t give up too soon. After a few weeks of consistent use, you should begin to see results.
Surgical treatment for degenerative disc disease
For individuals who elect surgical treatment, the surgeons at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery.^ Contact us to learn more. We can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery.
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