Degenerative Disc Disease is really not a disease but a general term used to describe the aging and "wear and tear" process of the disc. Just as the hair grays and the skin wrinkles, the internal structures of the body are also aging. The rate of disc degeneration or "wear and tear' is also influenced by trauma, like auto, sports and work related accidents which speed up this aging processes in the regions of the spine that were traumatized or injured.
Degenerative Disc Disease is also influenced by the position the disc has in the spine, the common stress zones being the lower back, and the lower regions of the neck. As all the disc's in the spine are gradually aging, the injured discs and the disc's in the "stress zones" go through accelerated aging or wear and tear.
To the right is a diagram of the last few vertebra in the low back and their disc's. The top disc is normal, however as we go progressively downward we have greater degrees of Degenerative Disc Disease, with the disc on the bottom being the worst. With Degenerative Disc Disease and its end result, disc thinning, the vertebrae come closer together creating excessive wear and tear and bone spur formation which is evident in the last two vertebrae in the diagram.
The pictures below are actual X-rays of Degenerative Disc Disease. To the left is the lower back, to the right is the neck. The neck has very advanced or severe Degenerative Disc Disease at almost every level. You can barely make out any disc spaces between the vertebrae.
The low back, as indicated by the red arrow, has advanced Degenerative Disc Disease between L5 and S1, that appears as a very thin space between the two segments. These are two good examples of what is frequently found in our elderly patients with lower back and neck complaints.
What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease:
- Injury or trauma, such as car accidents or contact sports
- Natural loss of blood supply to the disc
- Family Tree - strong tendency to pass down the family line (Genetics)
- Cigarette Smoking - damages blood supply to the disc
- Occupational -heavy equipment operators due to vibration, prolonged sitting & heavy lifting
Degenerative Disc Disease can be helped through a combination of Chiropractic adjustments, Cox Flexion Distraction, physical therapy, nutritional supplementation, exercise and appropriate life style changes. There is no cure for advanced Degenerative Disc Disease but it can be managed, controlled with the end result being an improvement in your pain level as well as your quality of life.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing pain contact our office to schedule a free NO obligation consultation with the doctor or email Dr. Garber with a question concerning your case for a quick response. Garber Chiropractic Care Center 770-386-7707
Chiropractic Care and Pain Relief for Cartersville, Acworth, Taylorsville, White and Euharlee GA.