What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition that affects the spine. It is common in people who are aged 50 or older and is usually due to aging. It may cause damage or herniation to the discs between the spinal vertebrae. There are many degenerative disc disease symptoms, but the one most commonly associated is chronic pain.
As the name states, it is degenerative, meaning the intervertebral discs begin to weaken. Although this condition can affect any part of the spine, it usually occurs in the lower back (lower lumbar) or the neck (cervical). Luckily, there are ways to treat these symptoms through chiropractic care.
Here are ten common symptoms of degenerative disc disease you may not know about:
Muscle and joint stiffness are common complaints in patients with degenerative disc disease. This symptom can cause an individual to lose mobility and may prevent them from exercising or otherwise caring for their physical health. Although stiffness is a symptom associated with many physical conditions, it is prevalent in DDD.
2. Muscle tension or muscle spasms
The spine and spinal cord affect the body’s muscles in many ways. When degeneration occurs, the affected muscles may become tense or spasm involuntarily. This can cause pain, discomfort, and frustration in many sufferers. But muscle tension and spasms can be treated with the correct chiropractic care.
3. Numbness and tingling, or a “pins and needles” feeling in your arms and legs
Because the spine contains the spinal cord; a large bundle of nerves and nerve endings, degenerative disc disease may cause numbness, tingling, or feelings of pins and needles in the limbs. Although this can be upsetting and uncomfortable, it is usually not damaging to the nerves. Chiropractors can help to determine the areas of the spine causing these sensations and help improve symptoms.
4. Increased pain when sitting for long periods, bending, lifting, twisting
Depending on the location and severity of disc degeneration, individuals with this condition can experience an increase in pain during certain movements. Sitting for long periods may also aggravate the nerves in the spine and cause pain. Spinal adjustments by a chiropractor can often help alleviate this pain.
5. Pain in the legs that worsens when standing, especially for long periods
Again, this will depend on the area of degeneration, but this type of pain is widespread in most patients with DDD. Because standing for long periods causes stress on the spine, it can affect the nerves and muscles already impacted by disc degeneration. Special exercises and chiropractic care can improve the lives of those living with this pain.
6. Pain in the lower back or neck
Since degenerative disc disease is commonly found near the lower back and neck regions, many individuals experience pain in these areas. Degenerating discs in the lower back and neck may cause the vertebrae to put pressure on local nerves and muscles. Luckily, this can be remedied with the correct care.
7. Weak leg muscles
Degenerative disc disease symptoms do not always occur as a result of affected nerves. However, when nerves near the lower back are affected, it may cause weakness in the leg muscles. This can cause issues with balance, mobility, and ability to lift or move into and out of certain positions.
8. Reduced sensation of touch
Reduced sensation is another symptom often attributed to nerve compression and can be a significant problem for some patients. Chiropractic care centered around relieving these nerves can contribute to treating sensation issues.
9. Nerve injury
Although not found in every patient, nerve injury can be another common symptom of degenerative disc disease. When left untreated for a long period, degenerating discs can cause damage to some nerves in the spine and other areas of the body. Therefore, prompt treatment of degenerative disc disease symptoms is essential in reducing the likelihood of permanent damage
10. Physical deformities
Some people may develop physical abnormalities including spinal stenosis. This happens when bone spurs begin to develop and the spinal canal narrows.
How chiropractic care can help treat degenerative disc disease
Chiropractic care is non-invasive and gentle. Therefore, it is preferred over surgical treatments and should be considered first. Chiropractic professionals can perform various diagnosis and treatment techniques that are helpful for those suffering from these degenerative disc disease symptoms. Some of these treatments include individually tailored exercises, spinal adjustments, chiropractic massage and more.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, chiropractic treatments may be right for you.