What Is It?
From our neck to our lower back, our discs are what is between the bones of our spine. They are filled with a jelly-like fluid. It functions to absorb shock and assist our body’s movement in all directions, protecting the nerves that pass from our spine to the rest of our body as we sit, walk, run, jump, or exercise.
As we go through life, we get older, have injuries to our back, or even sit or move in ways that overload our spine. This causes the discs to dehydrate, aka “degenerate”, and the bones in our spine get closer to each other. Pain occurs as the outer part of our discs have a large supply of nerves that get irritated when degeneration happens.
Degenerative discs may also lead to sciatica (pain going down the leg) when the height of the disc reduces enough to compress the spinal nerve roots from where it exits, right next to the disc.
What can be done?
Chiropractic adjustments gently alleviates compression in the spine, reducing the pressure on the disc. Physiotherapy care helps to strengthen the surrounding muscles, giving you the knowledge on how to maintain the health of your spine through movement. In severe cases, decompression therapy may be needed to further progress your treatment.
Can this be prevented?
Most people will experience normal age-related wear and tear to their spinal discs. This is all a natural part of aging (even the healthiest Olympians have it!). But understanding the right postures, movements, and taking regular care of your spine as it undergoes the daily stresses of work and life, will go a long way in preventing the occurrence of painful Degenerative Disc Disease.