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Is degenerative disc disease preventable?

Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the structures of the spine weaken with age. The gel-like discs between the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine act like shock absorbers, helping your back stay flexible so you can bend and twist. As you get older, those discs begin to dehydrate and weaken, causing them to lose their cushioning effect between your vertebrae and making it harder for you to move. While some individuals with degenerative disc disease don’t experience symptoms, others have mild to severe pain in the neck or back that can last for a few days to a few months.

If you’re wondering whether degenerative disc disease is preventable, the answer is no. While you can’t prevent this condition any more than you can prevent aging, you can engage in healthy lifestyle choices to help slow it down. The following options may help slow the onset of degenerative disc disease as you get older:

  • Exercise. Low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking can help keep your spine healthy, along with lightweight strength training and gentle yoga. As with any new regimen, it is important to speak with your doctor before trying any exercises.
  • Proper nutrition. Eat foods that are high in fiber and low in fat to reduce body mass and take excess pressure off your spine. Foods like fish, nuts and leafy greens are high in omega fatty acids that can better the health of your facet joints and spinal discs.
  • Water. The discs that support your spine are spongy, so drinking plenty of water can help hydrate them and allow them to maintain their elasticity. Strive to drink eight glasses of water per day.

If, despite your best efforts, you begin to experience chronic neck or back pain due to degenerative disc disease, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of treatment options available. Many patients find success using conservative methods, such as physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medication and chiropractic manipulation (just to name a few). If these methods prove unsuccessful, USA Spine Care can help. We offer minimally invasive surgeries that are often clinically appropriate when compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

To learn more about how USA Spine Care can help alleviate the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, contact us today. We can give you a free MRI review* to determine if you’re a candidate for the minimally invasive procedures we offer.

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