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Frequent Back Pain May Be Degenerative Disc Disease

By Debra Rodzinak

Several years ago, a relative had terrible back pain. He was unable to go to work for days on end due to his terrible lower back pain. He was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Oddly enough, degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but rather refers to the changes that occur to the spine as we age. 

Between each bony vertebrae of the spine are “shock absorbers” called discs. These discs are tough (similar to cartilage) on the outside and soft on the inside. As we get older, these discs begin to degenerate or wear away. This can cause the discs to bulge, herniate, cause spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis.

What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Symptoms?

As each patient is different, so are the symptoms of degenerative disc symptoms. Some patients have no symptoms and others experience pain at the site or in the back or neck. Pain is not from the missing or degenerated disc, but rather from the nerves that are compressed. Since the nerves of the spine send pain signals to all areas of the body, depending on the disc affected, the pain can radiate down the legs, arms, buttocks, or head and neck area. Arms and legs may also become numb or tingle. The pain can be slight discomfort to extreme. My relative experienced such pain that he was unable to get out of bed or go to work.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

The aging process can cause discs to wear away over time. As we grow older, our discs get tiny tears in them due to wear. These tears cause a loss of fluid that surround and cushion the discs against the bone.  Just like a sponge, when water is lost, they become harder and less flexible.

Other factors can cause early onset of degenerative disc disease. These other factors all have something in common, punishment to the discs that cause loss of fluid. Obesity, repeated physical movements, and injury all wear down the discs.

What Can I Do if I Have Back Pain?

Before you take drastic steps such as surgery, try less drastic measures to relieve the pain. First, if you are obese, you should lose weight. If you are able to limit repetitive physical movements, do so. Then, take a trip to The Joint. Gentle adjustments over time can realign the spine to allow the discs to go back in place. 

With the convenience of no appointments and extended hours during the week and on the weekend, The Joint makes a visit to the chiropractor a snap! Come by today and let the expert doctors at The Joint help relieve your back pain.

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