Can Chiropractic Care Help with Degenerative Disc Disease?
It may help to understand that DDD appears with an increase in bone growth and a decrease in the disc height. There are often three possible “sources” of pain:
1. Bad mechanics of the spine.
2. A disc pressing on a nerve.
3. A disc pressing on the spinal cord.
One of the myths of DDD is that it is normal aging. For decades, we have seen X-rays and MRIs of patients showing one area of the spine to be completely normal and another to have moderate to severe degeneration. Each area of the spine is obviously the same age. But parts of the spine age more quickly because of stress on the area. It is similar to our teeth. All your teeth are the same age and yet some teeth are more susceptible to aging. We need to brush more, use water picks or floss in those areas to keep those teeth from degenerating more quickly.
When you receive an adjustment in our office, we help to remove pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which in some cases can slow the aging process and/or reduce the effects. Adjustments often stimulate the circulation in the compromised disc, relieve any irritation to the nerves and ensure that proper nutrients are taken to help and reduce the degeneration and to stimulate the regeneration. Often clients feel less pain, more range of motion, easier breathing, and better posture.
Low Force Adjustments: This is when we identify the areas that are restricted or the ones that are showing some type of abnormal motion. We will work to restore the joint movement with gentle pressure. In our office, we have adjusted newborns all the way up to our 102-year-old patient. Most spines need gentle pressure to create change. Patients in our office are amazed at how gentle and good adjustments feel. There are three light ways in which we can help:
Flexion Distraction Technique: In this case, we will use a non-thrusting technique, which is generally used for the treatment of herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
Instrument Assisted Adjustments: We sometimes use a handheld instrument and we apply force without directly thrusting into the patient’s spine.
During your initial evaluation, we review your past and present medical history, which includes a discussion about your current symptoms and the potential cause. A physical and neurological exam helps pinpoint potential problem areas, such as where joint motion is restricted (eg, range of motion), abnormal spinal curvature, muscle spasms and/or trigger points, or evidence of injury (eg, sprain, strain). Of course, there are many different reasons why your neck or back may hurt, and our chiropractic assessment includes several discerning tests. We will observe how you weight bear, move, as well as your overall posture. Those details will help us understand your body mechanics and how your spine moves. You may also need an imaging test, such as an x-ray or MRI.
We will work hard to help your spine to be and feel healthier. The nervous system is a highly complex part of your body that coordinates its actions and sensory information by transmitting signals to and from different parts of its body. The nervous system detects environmental changes that impact the body, then works in tandem with the endocrine system to respond to such events. As your body ages, it is important to consider how to care for THE most important system in the body. We are happy to have provided help with that to so many patients over the last 2 and a half decades!