What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) refers to the changes that happen during the body’s natural aging process. It is the weakening of one or more of the discs between the vertebrae in your spine that are losing cushioning. The nucleus (middle part of the disc) has a high water content that stores oxygen and nutrients. Degenerative disc disease causes the disc to lose water content and begin to flatten as shown in the picture.
This condition usually occurs in the neck or the lower back. Degenerative disc disease is commonly the result of gradual, overuse, or degeneration of your spine caused by aging, or serious injury.
The spine may lose flexibility causing a pinched nerve, leading to pain or weakness in the lower back or neck. Pain from disc disease is usually caused by instability of the spine and inflammation from the discs.
Degenerative disc disease can cause symptoms such as:
Pain in the legs, thighs, and buttocks that will worsen with standing
Numbness or tingling
Stiffness or weakness in your muscles
With this disc condition, there can sometimes be no physical symptoms. Additionally, this disease cannot be cured, but treatment can help the pain. It requires a medical diagnosis so consult your doctor for medical advice.
Treatment for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
There are a number of non-surgical treatment options that can be done to help relieve disc pain. These include the following:
Physical therapy and low-impact exercises
Anti-inflammatory medications: to decrease pain and inflammation
Proper posture: to prevent excess strain and stress on the disc
Chiropractic practices: to provide lower back pain relief
Massage: to provide back pain by improving blood flow, and reducing muscle stiffness
Wearing degenerative disc back braces- to provide compression and support to the injured back (see braces above)
Weight loss: can reduce low back pain in overweight people by taking pressure off the lower back
Heat or ice therapy to soothe muscle pain and weakness: check out this lower back pain wrap that makes it easier to apply cold or heat therapy and compression
If pain medications or other treatment methods are ineffective, a doctor might prescribe one of a number of other medical treatments for herniated disc pain such as muscle relaxers or a cortisone injection into the spine area. In a rare case, surgery may be suggested if the other methods fail to improve your symptoms.
Surgical Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
If the above treatment options for degenerative disc fails to bring relief, a doctor may recommend one or a combination of surgical procedures to reduce the pain caused by the disc pushing against the nerves of the spine:
Discectomy: Removal of all or part of the disc that presses on a nerve.
Laminectomy: Removal of the back part of the vertebra to relieve pressure on the spine or nerve.
Laminotomy: Removal of the bone arch known as the lamina of the vertebra.
Spinal fusion: Using hardware and bone grafting to fuse two or more vertebrae together.
Artificial disc surgery: Replacing a herniated disc with an artificial one.
Following surgery and possibly during the rehabilitation process, one may need a post-operative brace, such as the spine stabilization brace or the post-op lumbar stabilizer. These lower back treatment products are comfortable, easy to adjust, and effective for degenerative disc treatment.
Back Braces for Degenerative Disc Disease
BraceAbility offers a wide selection of back and neck braces that will help to reduce the pain in your spine. This degenerative disc treatment brace helps to relieve back pain by decreasing the pressure on one’s back and spine. It will also hold a gel pack for heat or ice therapy.
For your lumbar pain, try the lumbar spine decompression back brace to help support and decrease the amount of pressure that is being applied to your injured spine.
Another option would be this hyperextension back brace that applies pressure to the sternum, the midback, and the front of the hips helping to support the spine and limit forward flexion of the back. It also encourages proper posture and spinal alignment, which helps to reduce pain and discomfort.
For cervical disc degeneration treatment, we offer a cervical spine immobilizer that can reduce strain around your neck area. It also features soft, breathable padding that is comfortable against the skin.
Posture Support Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
Sitting hunched over for long periods of time can cause the discs in your spine to become compressed. Slouching can also overstretch your spinal ligaments and strain your vertebrae discs. If you are looking for a brace to improve your daily posture, check out this adjustable posture corrector. The brace gently pulls your shoulders back and trains your muscles to have proper posture. Good posture has additional benefits such as higher energy levels, migraine relief, prevention of back and shoulder issues, support for already existing chronic back pains, and much more.
A number of people spend long hours sitting at a desk or in a car each day. This can take a toll on the low back. An office chair pillow is a good solution for lumbar disc treatment and back pain. It provides additional support to the back and helps to maintain proper posture when sitting.
In addition to these posture products, if you are looking to improve your posture we recommend checking out our 21 Day Posture Challenge to start improving your posture today.