If you’re experiencing mild discomfort to severe pain in your neck or lower back, it’s possible that you’re dealing with degenerative disc disease. While degenerative disc disease can be debilitating and make daily life difficult, there are treatment methods that can address this issue and relieve your pain. Continue reading to find out more about this condition and how to manage your symptoms.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

doctor_w_laptopDegenerative disc disease is a condition in which pain is caused by a dried and damaged disc located in between the vertebrae of the spine. Spinal discs help protect the spine, act as shock absorbers, and give the spine and torso flexibility. They are made of a spongy material composed of a tough outer layer and a viscous, jelly-like substance inside.

Degenerative disc disease typically develops over years or decades and usually occurs in the lower lumbar or lower cervical (neck) regions of the spine. When a disc becomes acidic, it loses its ability to bring nutrients in and let cellular waste products out. The result is that the disc loses its water content, dries, and cracks. The disc also begins to flatten which leaves the vertebrae susceptible to more conditions such as radiculopathy (pinched nerve) and stenosis (spinal canal narrowing).

How Can I Treat It?

The goal of treating degenerative disc disease is to improve upon motion, while stabilizing the area with muscle strength. It’s also necessary to stabilize the breakdown process of the disc through improved function, and it’s helpful to strengthen the region in order to minimize recurrence.  With improved motion and strength, most discs can heal and rehydrate over time.

Some treatment methods include the following.

  • Spinal mobilization
  • Flexion distraction
  • Exercise and core strengthening
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Stretching and mobilizing
  • Injections
  • Postural conditioning
  • Electric muscle stimulation
  • Heat

What is Spinal Decompression?

Doctor&PatientAligned Medical Group considers spinal decompression to be one of the most effective therapies when it comes to healing spinal discs.  We recommend vertebral axial decompression (VAX-D) therapy, a sophisticated, computer-guided, traction-based procedure used to treat damaged, bulging, herniated, degenerated, ruptured, or extruded discs in the cervical and lumbar spine.

Aligned Medical Group has years of experience using the latest treatments, including the VAX-D technique. This method reduces pressure from the spinal discs and nerves which then allows your spine to heal itself. Some professionals use traditional traction, inversion tables, or low-quality decompression tables that can end up increasing pressure on the discs. However, VAX-D therapy is clinically proven to relieve pressure inside the damaged discs, and ‘suction’ the damaged disc so it can regenerate.

Most patients see relief within a couple weeks, with complete resolution within two months, whereas patients who do not undergo VAX-D decompression may see relief in six to twelve months under alternative therapies.

In addition to these methods, there are other things you can do to reduce your symptoms.  Proper nutrition and drinking plenty of filtered water is very important.  Taking supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin will support cartilage health and fish oil will help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

If you’ve been living with degenerative disc disease or are experiencing painful symptoms in your neck or lower back, find relief today with Aligned Medical Group.