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Degenerative Disc Disease

 

One of the most common, and most misunderstood diseases of the neck and back would be
degenerative disc disease.  To explain it simply, degenerative disc disease is when pain and
sometimes numbness or weakness stems from a degenerated disc of the spine.  A degenerated
disc is a disc in your back that basically has aged and is weaker than it once was.  According to
spine-health.com, “Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a
degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc.”  No wonder this
disease is so misunderstood!

There are a lot of consistent symptoms from people who experience degenerative disc disease
in the back and in the neck.  The main symptom? Pain.  Severe episodes of back or neck pain
that last over a few days, or even a few months could indicate degenerative disc disease.  Pain
increasing when a person engages in activities like lifting, bending, and twisting is another sign.
And being in certain positions will indicate if a person has the disease.  For instance, a person
with degenerative disc disease may feel more comfortable standing than they do sitting.

To treat degenerative disc disease means that a doctor has to help the patient manage this
pain.  And every patient is different, so everybody will react differently to each treatment.  A
medication or supplement may be given to help manage the pain.  Then, if the patient feels
good enough, exercise and rehabilitation will take place.  Under the guidance of a physical
therapist or trained healthcare professional, a patient can go through a series of exercises that
will help strengthen the spine, and reduce the pain causes by a degenerative disc.  And finally,
a doctor may recommend a few lifestyle changes that can help the patient reduce their pain
level.

Here are a few tips to help reduce the pain caused by degenerative disc disease:
1.  Avoid cigarettes.  Nicotine breaks down bones and discs faster than normal, making sure
that you’ll never get rid of that lower back pain.
2. Avoid alcohol.
3. Move for at least 30 minutes a day.
4. Drink a lot of water.
5. Avoid sitting for a long time.

In some rare cases of extreme pain that won’t go away, a patient may have to undergo surgery
to get relief from degenerative disc disease.  However, for the majority of people, staying on top
of pain, changing your lifestyle, and working with a physical therapist will help reduce the
uncomfortable pain caused by degenerative disc disease.

(Sources:  spine-health.com).

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