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Degenerative Disc Disease Overview

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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Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

If you are suffering from back pain, you know how difficult it can be to get a comfortable night's sleep and to awake without experiencing pain or stiffness. Many different factors can influence your sleep quality, but one of the most crucial elements is your sleep position. Some are better than others for combating discomfort and getting proper recuperative rest. Sleeping on Your Back Some sleepers swear by this position, while others actively avoid it. Nevertheless, many people prefer this sleep position or find themselves in it when they wake. To make the best of back sleeping, you should consider placing a pillow underneath your head and neck and another underneath your knees to relieve pressure on the back. The posture places the back in its most natural, aligned positioning. This can also help with cramping; however, for those who snore, this position is likely to exacerbate the condition. Sleeping on Your Side One of the most popular sleep positions, side sleeping is good for reducing back strain. Placing a pillow between your knees or thighs can help reduce pressure on the hips and other joints. A full sized body pillow is less likely to slip out during the night and can be very comfortable. If you tend to roll one hip forward, you should use caution and try to avoid doing so, because it can increase both lower back and hip pain. This position can also help with sinus pressure; however, those with shoulder pain may find it markedly less comfortable. To alleviate that, switch sides during the night when possible. Sleeping on Your Stomach Not a highly recommended position, but one that makes many people feel more secure as they drift off to sleep, stomach sleeping is a more challenging sleep option for those with back pain. The answer is to sleep with a pillow beneath your pelvis and abdomen, easing the curve of the spine. You may want to forego resting your head on a pillow in this position. For those with some types of degenerative disc disease or paracentral disc herniation, stomach sleeping may help, but otherwise, if possible, you may wish to give up this position, as it offers few benefits beyond potential psychological comfort. If you have tried all of these positions and are still having back pain issues, contact us for more information and potential solutions for your pain and sleep quality issues.


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.