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How to slow down the progression of degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease describes the natural breakdown of the spinal discs. These changes can cause loss of elasticity and height, resulting in spinal instability and potential nerve compression. Since it is mainly related to natural aging, degenerative disc disease is not reversible and there is currently no cure.

While there is no one surefire way to slow down the progression of degenerative disc disease, patients diagnosed with this condition should do as much as they can to reduce pressure on the discs while also focusing on overall health. By learning about some of the specific steps you can take to promote healthier spinal discs, you can work with your doctor to form an effective treatment plan.

Ways to improve disc health

Here are some commonly recommended ways to help reduce pressure on the discs while increasing the flow of nutrients to the spine:

  • Staying active. Getting regular low-impact exercise, such as swimming or walking, helps improve cardiovascular health and blood flow.
  • Strengthening supporting muscles. Exercises like Pilates or yoga that engage the core improve posture and take pressure off the spinal discs if practiced consistently.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Carrying extra body weight increases the stress on the spinal discs and can contribute to the development of degenerative disc disease.
  • Eating a nutritious diet. In addition to helping with weight management, eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fats and micronutrients helps maintain strong bones and connective tissue.
  • Avoiding tobacco products. Tobacco products are proven to have a negative effect on disc health, while also decreasing blood flow to the spine.

For patients dealing with degenerative disc disease, focusing on an overall healthy and active lifestyle is one of the best ways to potentially slow down the progression of this condition.

Degenerative disc disease treatment

Along with taking the above steps, patients also have a range of conservative options that can help them manage any painful activities while also improving range of motion in the spine. Specific methods include physical therapy, over-the-counter medication and therapeutic massage. Spine surgery to treat degenerative disc disease can be an effective treatment in more severe cases, but it is usually only considered if weeks or months of conservative treatment do not bring the relief necessary for a good quality of life.

If you are being recommended for spine surgery, reach out to the caring team at USA Spine Care to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our highly skilled surgeons use muscle-sparing techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure that offers no lengthy recovery.^

If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask how to get your free MRI review.*

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