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What Exactly is Degenerative Disc Disease?


Our musculoskeletal system is quite complex, and the inner workings of our bones, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and everything else that comes together to form our musculoskeletal system are still being researched. Undoubtedly so, the most important part of our musculoskeletal system and of our body as a whole is our spine.

Our spine is composed of 33 individual bones called vertebrae that form a column and protect our spinal cord, one of the two main parts of our central nervous system. In between each individual vertebra are small cartilage discs that provide shock absorption and cushion for the vertebrae. Without these cartilage discs, our bones would be rubbing together and deteriorating, causing immense levels of pain. Additionally, the cartilage discs in our spine provide us with the flexibility and range of motion that makes us so maneuverable. We would be much more rigid and be able to carry out significantly fewer activities without these cartilage discs.

Over time, the wear and tear that our bodies incur places heavy stress on our spine. This can lead to a myriad of problems for our musculoskeletal system. One problem that occurs more frequently as we age and that involves our cartilage discs is called degenerative disc disease. When we are afflicted with this condition, the cartilage discs in our spine thin out and are unable to provide us with the same support that we need.

While the title degenerative disc disease can make any of us scared to death, it is actually quite misleading. This condition is not in fact a disease, but simply a condition. The word degenerative also causes many people to panic, but this should not be taken out of context. It does not mean that the symptoms worsen over time, but that the discs themselves degenerate over time. However, the condition can still be quite serious if left untreated.

There are many things that we can do for our spines when we find out that we have degenerative disc disease. Chiropractic care, yoga, exercise, improved dietary habits, and changing sleeping behaviors are just some of the strategies we can use. With the dedication to improve, we find that degenerative disc disease does not have to be the terrifying reality that it is made out to be. Regular chiropractic visits and check-ups with your general practioner will ensure you're on the path to wellness and free from pain. 

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