Looking for great information about Degenerative Disk Disease (also called DDD)? We have pulled together the best information from our professional physical therapists to walk through, from source to treatment.
About Your Spine
From the base of your skull to the bottom of your back, your spine provides a large area for things to go wrong. When it does, you know it! One problem could be disc issues and they are no laughing matter.
Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae that are stacked on top of one another. Between each of these vertebrae is a rubbery piece of cartilage called the “intervertebral” disc. Imagine the disc as a tire, with gelatin filling the hole inside the tire. The tire is called the”annulus,” and the gelatin is called the “nucleus.”
When we’re young the disc is made mostly of gelatin. As a normal part of aging, and sometimes with injury, we start to lose some of that gelatin and the volume of the disc decreases, resulting in less space between the vertebrae. The disc becomes flatter and less flexible, leaving less space between each set of vertebrae. Sometimes bone spurs form in response to this degeneration of the disc, which could make the spine stiff. Often, this flattening and additional stiffness to the spine is not painful.
Degenerative Disk Disease
In some cases, when injury of life’s wear and tear exceed the tolerance of the disc(s) in question, pain and inflammation may result. The nerve root, the point where a spinal nerve exits the spine and extends to other parts of the body, may become irritated or compressed. Disc degeneration may occur throughout several regions of the spine, or it may be limited to 1 disc.
Degeneration does not always lead to pain. For some people, however, it can cause a great deal of pain and disability.
Causes of Degenerative Disk Disease
You are more likely to develop DDD if you smoke, are obese, do heavy physical work, or don’t get very much exercise.
The pain is often made worse by sitting, bending, and reaching. It may be worse first thing in the morning and after staying in any one position for a long time. In severe cases, when DDD results in pressure on the nerve root, it can
lead to numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the arms or legs.
Treatment of Degenerative Disk Disease
As Physical Therapists who specialize in the treatment of back pain, we successfully treat Degenerative Disc Disease ALL the time.
First we need to figure out the source of your pain; is it the disc itself, the nerves, the muscles or ligaments around it, and then we need to treat that specific tissue in order to help it heal.
But it doesn’t stop there. We also need to figure out why you started to get the pain in the first place because remember some people have DDD and never have any symptoms. Poor movement patterns increase your risk of developing symptoms as well as genetic predisposition and lifestyle. We can fix poor movement patterns and manage lifestyle which can also affect your genetic predisposition.
If you have low back pain as described above or have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, give us a call and we will get you back to doing all the pain free things you like to enjoy.
Don’t suffer in silence. As you doctor today about how physical therapy can help your Degenerative Disk Disease issues today.