What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

May 31, 2020 0 Comment

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease is the symptoms or pain caused by the wearing down of your spinal discs in your back or neck. Spinal discs are the tough but somewhat squishy ligaments between your vertebrae in your spine. Think of them kind of like a jelly donut, the outside is somewhat flexible and squishy, but on the inside is a gel that helps keep the disc shape. They act as joints that hold together the vertebrae, allow your spine slight mobility, and act as padding between your vertebrae. Over time the spinal discs will wear down and become less protective of your vertebrae and make movement harder and/or more painful.

Why Do I Have Back Pain?

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Usually, over time your discs will start to lose that gel inside them, and your discs will get flatter and less protective of your spine. This can cause many problems with your discs, such as causing herniated, bulging, degenerative, or thinning discs. Herniated discs have cracks in them that cause the gel to bulge out of the spines socket for discs and pinch nerves in your spine, if you leave a herniated disc and do nothing to help it, it could rupture and cause irreversible damage. Bulging discs are much the same as herniated discs though they aren’t cracked and spilling their gel out, but they do pinch nerves much the same. Degenerative discs have lost almost or all of the gel in them and will either cause pain from the lack of protection between vertebrae or they can bulge out like bulging discs.

Thinning discs are pretty much the same as degenerative disc minus the bugling out, and thinning discs can cause bone spurs to grow on your vertebrae that can rub up on each other and cause pain.

What can Increase my Risk of Getting Degenerative Disc Disease?

Old age is what most commonly causes the degeneration of your discs. Over time you’ll wear down your discs and eventually, they’ll become so worn down it’ll start to cause problems or pain.

Obesity can cause it at an early age due to the stress your spine takes on when encumbered with extra weight.  Strenuous physical work can cause it to appear early, which is also because of the extra stress your spine takes on when lifting heavy objects. Sudden injuries, such as a fall can cause Degenerative Disc Disease, due to punctures or cracks in discs.

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What can I do to Treat it?

Any exercises that build core strength can help take stress off your back. Exercises like yoga, pilates, walking, cycling, and swimming can help improve your back. A good exercise to do is to lie on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and press your lower back to the floor, so your back is flat, hold that for a few seconds and repeat. Then in the same position, squeeze your butt together and lift it until you’re making a low bridge with your body, hold the position for a few seconds and repeat. If any of these exercises don’t provide any relief, give us a call. We are happy to help as the Joint Pain Specialist in San Jose.

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