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Degenerative Disc Disease Overview


Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is commonly mistaken for a disease due to its name. However, DDD is actually the natural, decomposing effects of aging. Our bodies endure a substantial amount of stress throughout a lifetime, and the spine is literally the backbone of our bodies’ upright and mechanical positioning and movement. The spine allows us to twist, bend, arch, and lean, while allowing our bodies to retain its skeletal form. The discs in the spine, in between each vertebra, act as shocks for those vertebrae, relieving the stress and blunt force that they would otherwise endure. However, just like shocks in an automobile, these discs become worn out over time due to strenuous and frequent use.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

As we age, the cartilage protecting our spinal discs deteriorates, allowing the discs to bulge or protrude. Due to the shape and curvature of our spine, this usually occurs in the upper and lower back. These parts of the spine are the focal points of pressure and strenuous activity. The actual corrosion of the cartilage is called Osteoarthritis, and the most common result of this is a herniated disc. Both of these issues, along with other related effects, greatly increase nerve damage and spinal pain.

What are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?

Pain tolerance and awareness differs greatly between different people. While some people with DDD experience a great amount pain in certain areas of their back and neck, others might feel no pain at all. These pains are typically more noticed with movement of the back, such as twisting, reaching, arching, or bending over. Because of the structure and functionality of nerves, sharp pain can sometimes be felt outside of the general area of the affected disc, such as in the arms and legs, usually depending on upper or lower disc damage.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosed?

The diagnosis process is detailed and thorough, as it is extremely important to uproot the cause of any pain in the spine to determine the underlying issue and recommend the correct treatments. A physician will discuss with a patient any previous injuries, damage, or pain to the neck and spine. After neurostimulation, the physician can then make an educated decision on what treatments should initially take place to relieve any pain.

How is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for DDD, but there are many different treatments patients can undergo to help with the symptoms of DDD, such as neck and back pain and nerve damage. Therapeutic, non-invasive treatment is primarily recommended to relieve neck and back pain in most cases. However, if the pain is too great or the damage to a disc is too severe, minimally invasive surgery could be recommended by a physician as a solution to further ease the pain.

There are two different kinds of non-invasive treatments for lower back pain: passive and active. Passive treatments consist of pain medication, such as muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medicine, and oral steroids. More passive treatments include neurostimulation, ultra sound to enhance blood flow, therapeutic massages to relax muscles, and anti-inflammatory injections to reduce swelling.

Active treatments are more of a self-help, health focus. These include exercising, such as lifting light weights for muscle memory and retention, weight loss to provide relief from certain pressure points on the spine, and quitting smoking to increase blood to ensure faster healing.

Why Choose Become Pain Free?

From chiropractors to pain management specialists to expert spine surgeons, Become Pain Free can help get rid of your pain so you can get your life back on track. To learn more about how we can help, fill out the form on the right or call 888-373-3720. We'll connect you with the right specialist so you can stop living in pain.Call Become Pain Free... your pain solution.

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Plane Pains

Back pain and flying Coping with back pain regularly can be miserable and stressful. Flying can be fun and exciting; however, it can be hard on an individual’s back. One needs to place the entire travel experience into consideration while preparing for a comfortable flight travel. Common travel experiences include the following: standing in security lines, conveyor belt luggage shifting, and hard chairs to sit on while waiting. Ample space for movement should be considered as well. It is important to focus on things that need to be done prior to your flight. Utilizing your doctor is recommended. A doctor may be able to provide a letter describing back pain conditions. As such, accommodations may be made available for individual needs; such as, blankets, cushions, comfortable seats, wheelchair assistance, early boarding, and opportunities to move around. A doctor may prescribe muscle relaxing pills to make the plane ride more comfortable. Availability of a doctor’s note that specifies the prescribed medications is mandatory for security reasons. Medications should be kept in their original bottles. Contacting the airline in advance and describing individual back conditions may be beneficial as one may be well informed about any accommodations available. Advanced smart airline bookings can be beneficial after obtaining ample information about favorable back accommodations airlines offer. Requesting an aisle seat is a definite plus. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can result in back discomfort. Therefore; frequent movements, stretching, and some back related exercises would alleviate back pains. Being familiar with back pain alleviation techniques is essential. Some of the tips include; supporting the spine with the use of pillows, a back roll, use of head rest, stretching and minor exercise techniques, and ways to prop up your feet. Carrying relaxing music or reading material can be useful during the entire flight. Remaining calm and relaxed is the key. Stress or tension does have an adverse effect on back muscles that will cause back pain. Taking advantage of any reclining seats that are available, proper head rest usage will keep an individual relaxed and comfortable. Avoiding any drinks that boost dehydration is recommended. Such drinks mainly include; coffee, regular tea, and alcohol. Wear comfortable clothing that will allow free movement. Falling asleep for a prolonged time period may aggravate back pain due to lack of movement. Understanding techniques to alleviate and prevent back pain is crucial. Frequent movements and stretches prior to flying as opposed to sitting and waiting for the flight is a definite plus. Carrying a Doctor’s note about the back condition and medications prescribed is mandatory. Obtaining ample information about how the flight will accommodate your back condition before booking should be one of the individual’s priorities. Avoiding stress and any tension or discomfort will alleviate back pain.

Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.