One of the most common causes of acute back pain and discomfort is a condition known as Degenerative Disc Disease, and it is this disease which we’ll be looking at today. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about degenerative disc disease and chiropractic care.
What is degenerative disc disease?
Degenerative Disc Disease, or DDD, as it is sometimes known, is a condition which affects the spine. Specifically, it is a condition characterized by severe pain and discomfort that affects the discs that separate the bones located in the spine. While the condition can affect anybody, at any given time, according to Spine Scan chiropractic in South Perth, many of the patients that they treat are older. This is because, as we grow older, our spines become more brittle and they start to show signs of wear and tear as the discs shrink in size. Basically, Degenerative Disc Disease is a blanket term used to describe changes that occur in the discs of the spine, making them less effective.
As people age, they find that the discs dry out, they become weaker, they shrink in size, and they become less effective. Just as a muscle needs to move to be healthy, so to a disc needs to move. If, however, a spinal lock occurs as a result of a fall, bad posture or inactivity at some stage in life the disc will lack movement and a process known as Inbibition, the circulation within the disc, will decrease . This circulation supplies oxygen, nutrients and water to the collagen fibres that make the disc.
Why do we have discs in the spine?
A common question chiropractor’s get asked is what discs located in the spine are for? Basically, these discs act like shock absorbers as they separate the bones located within the spine. As they are disc-shaped, they allow significant range of motion in all directions. They are also very strong providing the support needed to keep the body upright.
In addition, and the most important reason for having discs, a healthy disc provides a large space for each spinal nerve root to leave the spinal cord and give life to cells,tissues, organs and systems within the body. This is why it is important that proper movement within the joints of the spine occurs. Unlocking stiff joints allows for better circulation of oxygen, nutrients and water to occur within the tissues that make the disc. Remember, without proper movement of the spinal unit the disc will likely degenerate due to lack of inbibition.
Signs and symptoms of DDD
If you’re concerned about degenerative disc disease, read through this list to determine if you may have the signs and symptoms associated with DDD. These include:
· Pain that worsens when you’re physically active
· Pain that is intensified when sitting, which is likely due to discs located in the lower back
· Chronic and persistent back pain that does not let up
Typically, pain will begin in the lower back, and may even be felt in the legs and buttocks via the sciatic nerve where it manifests itself as sciatica. Patients often describe it as a burning sensation bordering on painful. Some will experience more severe back pain which will persist for weeks, even months, at a time. One tell-tale sign of DDD is extreme pain when sitting down. This is because sitting down places more pressure on the discs as they are forced to absorb more of your weight in this position. If you do experience pain whilst sitting, even though it may be painful at first, Dr Rocchi (chiropractor) at Spine Scan chiropractic South Perth, recommends that you get up and walk or jog lightly for a short while. You may notice that your back feels looser, and that some of the pain has subsided.
Why chiropractic care is so important
At Spine Scan chiropractic, we perform two types of treatments, using a handheld computerised mechanical pulse instrument (Spine Scan) and the Trigenics system. By trying to stimulate the nerves of the affected area with the instrument or by hand while the patient is performing a particular movement pattern we try and help you retrain your core muscles within your body, and try and help to ease pain and discomfort. Contact us today on (08) 6150 8783.