Eight treatments for degenerative disc disease
Hearing your doctor say “degenerative disc disease” can be very alarming. While you may feel a bit confused and have a lot of questions, you can find comfort in knowing that this spine condition is quite common. That’s because degenerative disc disease — a spine condition that affects the flexible discs in the spinal column — usually occurs with normal changes that happen in the spine over time. But what can you do to stop the pain that may come along with it?
While most people experience neck or back pain throughout their lives, it’s normal for parts of our bodies — even our spinal discs — to change in strength and function. The chronic pain that may accompany degenerative disc disease is likely due to weakened discs that have caused a secondary spine condition, like a bulging or herniated disc, that is compressing a spinal nerve. Luckily, there are many ways to treat the pain associated with degenerative disc disease, such as:
- Resting at first, especially after injury, can reduce pressure on the spine and supporting muscles. While degenerative disc disease is usually caused by the natural aging process, resting after the initial onset of symptoms may prevent them from worsening. But don’t stay inactive for too long! Our spine care experts recommend one to three days of bed rest.
- Staying active with a doctor-recommended exercise program can help you prevent or reduce neck or back pain associated with degenerative disc disease. By strengthening your core muscles, you can reduce strain on your back, alleviate muscle spasms and release endorphins — the body’s natural pain reliever.
- Trying pain medicine from a local pharmacy or your doctor’s prescription can be a great way to reduce inflammation in your neck and back. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, help fight inflammation. Analgesics, like aspirin, help to relieve pain at the site of injury.
- Visiting a physical therapist may put you on the right track toward pain relief. For degenerative disc disease, a care plan may consist of massage, pool therapy, electric stimulation, posture correction, hot/cold therapy and bracing.
- Getting chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease may improve joint function in the spine, correct spinal alignment and fight inflammation. Using techniques like manual manipulation, trigger point therapy, flexion distraction and more, chiropractors can help maintain proper spine health.
- Using natural herbs and supplements in a healthy diet can do wonders for painful nerve compression. Natural anti-inflammatories, like turmeric, chamomile, bromelain and more, can help reduce the swelling that causes neck or back pain.
- Relieving pain with acupuncture has been effective for many people. By working with the body’s “meridians” — the pathways through which the body’s energy flows — to stimulate the nervous system, acupuncturists use needles to release endorphins and provide relief.
- Exploring surgical treatment may be the next step if nonsurgical methods have not relieved the pain associated with degenerative disc disease. If your chronic neck or back pain has persisted three months or longer, our Care Team may be able to help you. Reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and find out why more than 60,000 people have trusted us to treat their neck and back pain.