What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is the natural aging of the spine. To understand this phenomenon, it is important to have knowledge on basic spinal anatomy. The cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spine are composed of a gel-like center and a tough outer wall. As people age, the cartilage in these discs weaken and the water content decreases. Without proper lubricant, these discs begin to rub together, causing normal wear and tear.
It is important to note that everyone will experience disc degeneration in different ways. Some individuals will never experience degenerative disc disease symptoms, and others may feel it earlier in life. This spine condition is completely dependent on your unique body.
If you are beginning to notice that you are experiencing more back pain with age, there is a chance that your discs have begun to degenerate. Although this may sound overwhelming, this spine condition is completely normal and should not be surrounded by ideas of fear. The most beneficial thing you can do in this situation is meet with your doctor to establish a treatment plan.
Disc degeneration is manageable. By making a treatment plan consisting of healthy lifestyle choices and spine-strengthening activities, there is a great chance you can decrease your symptoms. If it is too late, and you are already having trouble seeking relief, there are a variety of other conservative treatment options that can be just as effective.
If you are interested in learning more about degenerative disc disease and ways to slow down the progression of this spine condition, continue reading.
Lifestyle Changes for Degenerative Disc Disease
Even though there is no way to stop this condition or reverse the degeneration, it is possible to slow down the process. A number of lifestyle changes can decrease the amount of stress that’s placed on your spine, helping protect the various components from wear and tear.
Many patients who adopt a healthy lifestyle notice that their degenerative disc disease symptoms improve with time. The best way to stay healthy is by following a healthy diet, which means eating lots of protein and vegetables. Additionally, certain individuals may have certain nutrient needs. By meeting with a nutritionist, they can offer information on how to be the healthiest version of yourself. Other ways to slow down disc degeneration include:
- Make low-impact cardio and gentle core exercises a part of your daily lifestyle
- Avoid tobacco products (or quit if you’re a current smoker)
- Maintain a weight that’s healthy for your body frame
These changes may help slow the progression of your spine condition while also reducing the severity of your symptoms. Of course, you may still want to talk with a physician about treatment to help relieve inflammation in your spine.
If your condition is relatively minor, medication and activity modifications may help you maintain your current lifestyle. As it progresses, however, you may need to incorporate other therapies, such as injections or physical therapy. If it becomes severe enough that you’re not able to keep up, you might also consider surgery as well.
BEST Health System
Many individuals avoid surgery because they think it will set them back. Traditional surgery requires a long recovery period and many individuals cannot make time for this. This is where BEST comes in to help.
BEST Health System is the industry leader in minimally invasive spine surgeries. While most “minimally invasive” facilities use 3-inch incisions to perform surgery, BEST promises a 1-inch incision. This allows for faster recovery times and less risk of infection, all on an outpatient basis. Contact us today to learn more about treatment with BEST.