Degenerative Disc Disease

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease is common.  In between each vertebrae there are spinal discs. These are a cushion to act as a shock absorber. Discs help your back stay flexible. This helps you bend and twist. Degenerative disc disease occurs over time. As aging occurs, they can show signs of wear and tear. They can break down and may not work as well. Nearly everyone’s discs break down over time. Not everyone may feel pain from it though.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

What causes it?

There are a variety of causes to degenerative disc disease. One of the causes may be due to them drying out. When you are born the discs are made up of water. As aging occurs, they lose water. The flatter the disc, the less shock is absorbed. Lack of disc space can also cause other pain. Another cause is a crack in the disc. The stress of everyday movements and minor injuries can cause tiny tears. These tears occur in the outer wall. The outer wall contains nerves. Any tears near the nerves can become painful. If the outer wall breaks down, the discs soft core may push through. This can cause the disc to bulge or slip out of place.


Degenerative disc disease symptoms depend on where the weak disc is located. The most common areas of the disc thinning out occurs in the neck and lower back. Common signs include pain that is in the lower back, buttocks, or upper thighs. Symptoms may come and go. It can be nagging or severe. This can last a few days or even months. Pain may also feel worse when sitting, bending, lifting or twisting. It can improve with movement such as walking.


The goal is to prevent the degenerative disc disease from causing more damage and to ease pain. Treatment may include medication such as over the counter drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. These help fight inflammation. Physical therapy may also be an option for those who suffer from degenerative discs. Specific movements make the muscles in the neck and back stronger. This will help support the spine more.

Chiropractic Care

Your chiropractor will work hard to treat degenerative disc symptoms. Chiropractors treat the whole person, not just the specific symptoms. Your chiropractor may educate you on nutrition, stress management and lifestyle goals in addition to treating degenerative disc symptoms. The goal of chiropractic care for degenerative discs is to improve joint mechanics by improving spinal motion. To help treat degenerative disc symptoms, your chiropractor may use spinal manipulation. This is also known as spinal adjustment.

Chiropractic Techniques

There are a few techniques the chiropractor may utilize to ease pain. Specific spinal manipulation allows the chiropractor to restore movement in joints that show abnormal motion. This occurs through a gentle thrusting technique. Another technique utilized is instrument assisted manipulations. This technique uses a hand held instrument. Gentle force is applied into the joint without thrusting into the spine. Another helpful technique is trigger point therapy. This involves putting pressure on tight muscles to relieve tensions   

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