Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition in which one or more spinal discs wears excessively to the point of causing the thickness of the disc to be reduced. This loss of disc height results in more stress on the vertebrae above and below the disc. Wolff’s Law states that bone responds to mechanical stress by producing more bone. This is not a bad thing in the case of someone who is weight lifting. Bigger muscles mean more stress on the bones they are attached to, which means the bone will get bigger and stronger. In the case of Degenerative Disc Disease, the added stress on the vertebra is pathological and results in osteophytes a.k.a. bone spurs. Left uncorrected these bone spurs can grow and put pressure on nerves, restrict spinal motion and even fuse across the disc joint and immobilize the joint completely.
It’s true that it is more common the older you get but that does not mean it is “normal” as you age. As a chiropractor, it is VERY common for my patients to have some level of Degenerative Disc Disease. Often, Degenerative Disc Disease is found in an area of the spine with no symptoms. This is one of many reasons that it’s so important to take full spine x-rays on all our patients.
The medical community and some chiropractors still lack a basic understanding of this condition Degenerative Disc Disease. The biggest myths about Degenerative Disc Disease are deal with its cause. Medical doctors training is focused on emergency conditions and the elimination of symptoms with drugs and surgery. Unlike chiropractors, they often fail to understand how to treat the cause of chronic conditions like Degenerative Disc Disease because their method of treatment is limited to covering up the symptoms.
As a result of this misunderstanding, there are some myths about Degenerative Disc Disease that are prevalent and need to be addressed.
If you have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, find a structurally focused chiropractor for help. There are a lot of treatment options like including spinal fusion, steroid injections, artificial disc replacement surgery, spinal fusion surgery, anti-inflammatory drugs. Only structurally focused chiropractic care can correct or improve the cause of the problem. Medical options are not bad but you need to understand that they are designed only to reduce the pain and symptoms and not fix the cause.
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