Spine Degeneration and Chiropractic Treatment
Degenerative Disc Disease is as commonly misunderstood as it is the cause of lower back pain and neck pain. Disc degeneration within the spine is actually a natural process of aging, and the severity of the disease varies widely from person-to-person. DDD describes the pain, weakness, and/or numbness that emanates from a degenerating disc within the spine. While DDD can cause a variety of side effects, there are also many different types of chiropractic treatments to counter them.
What Exactly is Degenerative Disc Disease?
The term ‘degenerative’ describes the process of the disc degenerating over time, not necessarily the progression of the disease’s symptoms. Pain often lessens over time, and despite being called a ‘disease’, DDD is simply a degenerative condition in which a spinal disc degenerates and causes occasional pain. It is possible that DDD will lead to or cause other spinal complications, including spinal stenosis, spinal osteoarthritis, and spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of DDD
To make things simple, pain within the lower back or neck is the most common symptom of DDD. Those suffering from DDD may feel pain that flares up during an activity, but dies down afterwards. Additionally, there may be episodes of more severe pain before it dies back down to the baseline level. The baseline level of pain can range from mildly irritating to severe, and varies for each person. People afflicted with DDD will also feel more pain from bending, lifting, and twisting. Walking and running, however, may lessen the pain more than prolonged sitting or standing.
The chiropractic treatment of degenerative disc disease focuses on improving joint mechanics by working on spinal motion and attempting to reduce inflammation. The most common practices to treat DDD include spinal adjustment, manual therapy, and inflammation reduction.
An example of one of the most common spinal adjustment techniques is specific spinal manipulation, in which the chiropractor identifies and restores movement to restricted or abnormally moving joints. Manual therapy includes trigger point therapy, where the chiropractor puts pressure on tight, painful points in the muscle. A technique for reducing inflammation is interferential electrical stimulation, during which an electrical current is utilized in order to stimulate the muscles.