Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! In my last post, we discussed ways to care for your back and stay healthy at home. Today, we’ll be discussing degenerative disc disease, which is a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain. Despite its name, degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease– It is simply a condition that occurs when there are changes in the discs of the spine. This condition can occur due to the normal process of aging, but there are other causes, too. If you are interested in learning more about this condition, its causes, and how chiropractic care can help, you’re in the right place! Let’s get started.
To understand degenerative disc disease, we must first take a look at the spine. The spine is made up of 24 small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to create the spinal column. In between each vertebra are intervertebral discs, which are soft, gel-like cushions that act as shock absorbers. Each disc is flat and circular, about an inch in diameter and one-quarter inch thick. They are made up of two components: the annulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus. To put it more simply, the annulus fibrosus is a tough and fibrous outer layer and the nucleus pulposus is a jelly-like inner layer. The discs are held in place by the ligaments connecting the spinal bones. Additionally, the top and bottom of each vertebral body are coated with an endplate, which is a structure that blends into the disc and helps hold it in place. Discs keep the spine stable, help you stand up straight, and help you go through everyday motions like bending.
Although intervertebral discs are described as shock absorbers, they are not as flexible or pliable as they may sound. When we are children, discs start as fluid-like sacs, but with the normal aging process, the blood supply to the discs has stopped. When the blood supply to the disc has stopped, the soft, inner material of the discs begins to harden, making the discs less elastic. By the time we reach middle age, the disks are tough and have a consistency of hard rubber. Because of this change, the outer protective lining of the discs becomes weaker and makes the discs more susceptible to injury. Additionally, since discs at this point do not have a blood supply, a disc cannot repair itself once it is injured.
Due to the normal wear and tear of aging, discs begin to break down and may not work as well. Almost everyone’s discs will break down over time, but this does not always cause pain. Pain associated with worn-out spinal discs is called degenerative disc disease. There are two predominant ways that the discs can change and cause degenerative disc disease:
Since disks can begin to wear away over time, degenerative disc disease is most common in older adults. This condition can develop in your 30s or 40s, and progressively worsen. In fact, after age 40, almost everyone has some disc degeneration, even if they do not develop symptoms. However, there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition:
Once degenerative disc disease develops, it can worsen over time. Here are some common symptoms of this condition:
In some cases, usually more severe, degenerative disc disease can cause numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. Sometimes, the leg muscles may become weak, which is a possible sign of nerve damage.
Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed by analyzing medical history, conducting a physical examination, and most often by imaging scans, such as an MRI. Although discs cannot repair themselves, there are treatment options available that can help manage pain and stop further damage from occurring. A doctor will suggest treatment such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery. However, another non-invasive option is chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractic care is often a preferred method of treatment among individuals with degenerative disc disease. The goal of treating degenerative disc disease with chiropractic care is to improve spinal motion and decrease inflammation.
Chiropractic treatment for degenerative disc disease may include chiropractic adjustments. A chiropractic adjustment is a procedure in which a chiropractor uses their hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to realign parts of the vertebrae and remove any other interferences or subluxations. When a vertebra is misaligned, or your spine is subject to subluxations, this can prevent your body from undergoing its natural healing process. Misalignment and interferences such as subluxations put extra stress on the spine and can speed up the degenerative process. If you are interested in learning more about subluxations, check out one of my previous blogs!
A chiropractor might also use spinal manipulation to treat degenerative disc disease. Spinal manipulation is sometimes referred to as a spinal adjustment. There are several types of spinal manipulation techniques, including specific spinal manipulation. With this technique, a chiropractor will identify which joints in the spine are restricted or moving abnormally and use a gentle thrusting technique to restore movement. Another technique is called the flexion-distraction technique. This technique is performed on a specialized table that has segments that move as the chiropractor slowly manipulates the spine. The combination of spinal manipulation with the movements of the table helps stretch and decompress the spine, relieving pain.
Additionally, a chiropractor can recommend therapeutic exercises or certain types of massage that may help address your symptoms. Massage therapy goes hand-in-hand with chiropractic care– Chiropractic adjustments can be more effective when your muscles are relaxed. A chiropractor may also talk to you about nutrition, stress management, or other lifestyle changes that can help you maximize the benefits of your chiropractic adjustment and relieve symptoms of degenerative disc disease. In most cases, the earlier the stage of degenerative disc disease, the more successful treatment can be. However, chiropractic care can be extremely effective and beneficial even in the most extreme cases of degenerative disc disease.
As you can see, degenerative disc disease can be painful and even life-altering. Chiropractic care can help relieve and manage symptoms, as well as stop the progression of the deterioration of discs. If you have any further questions about degenerative disc disease or chiropractic care, feel free to reach out to us. I hope you found this article informative. If you or a loved one are suffering from any type of joint or back pain, you may benefit from chiropractic care. Consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic! We specialize in different chiropractic techniques, as well as both therapeutic and Swedish massage. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a long-term treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a healthy and pain-free life– it’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! In my last post, we discussed ways to care for your back and stay healthy at home. Today, we’ll be talking about some of the benefits of chiropractic care. Seeking out chiropractic care is the first step to living a healthy, happy, and pain-free life. The body has the incredible ability to heal itself, and chiropractic care can remove subluxations, or interferences, that prevent this healing process. There are a number of reasons why chiropractic care is beneficial for the body and mind. If you are interested in learning more, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started!
Data has shown that approximately 70 million adults in the United States deal with some type of chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as persistent pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. Additionally, approximately 16 million adults experience chronic back pain– That’s 8% of all adults. In fact, back pain is one of the top reasons that people miss work or school and are unable to participate in everyday activities. With that being said, it is no surprise that many people are interested in finding ways to manage their chronic pain. While many turn to medications, this doesn’t always do the job. The use of medication for pain puts a temporary band-aid over the problem, rather than identifying and dealing with the root cause. People who have tried medication and saw no results are often interested in finding alternative ways to manage their pain. Chiropractic care is one of those alternative options, especially when dealing with back or neck pain.
Chiropractic is a licensed health care profession that is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders within the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes your bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues. The main area that chiropractic care focuses on is the spine. Chiropractors are trained to make sure that your body is functioning at its optimal best, and this is done using spinal adjustments to remove subluxations. Subluxations are partial dislocations or slight misalignments of the vertebrae that block signals from your brain to your body. By correcting a subluxation, your body can restore itself to better health. (If you want to learn more about subluxations, check out one of my previous blogs!) Spinal adjustments can realign the joints and lead to pain relief, including pain from conditions affecting any part of the musculoskeletal system. While the overarching benefit of chiropractic care is that you can live a healthier, pain-free life, there are plenty of other benefits. Let’s break some of them down.
Improved Immune System Function
Did you know that chiropractic care can improve your immune system? Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and substances that helps the body fight infections and other diseases. While the body has the natural ability to heal itself, there can be an interference with this process if the immune system is not functioning properly. Interferences can include autoimmune disorders and subluxations. The immune system and the nervous system are in constant communication. The nervous system is essentially your body’s command center– not only does it control your movements, but it also controls other body systems and processes, including digestion, healing, aging, and more. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, where your brain uses nerves to send signals or messages to the rest of the body. But what happens if one of these nerves is blocked, or a vertebra is misaligned, putting pressure on the nerves? This type of interference, or subluxation, can interrupt your nervous system and immune system, thus interfering with the body’s natural processes. By removing subluxations and realigning joints, function can be restored to the nerves and allow your cells to function the way they are supposed to.
Posture is defined as the way you hold your body. There are two types of posture: Dynamic and static posture. Dynamic posture refers to how you hold yourself while you are moving, such as walking or running. Static posture refers to how you hold yourself when you are not moving, such as sitting or standing. Good posture is an important part of your long-term health, and the key to good posture is the position of your spine. Your spine has three natural curves: At your neck, mid back, and lower back. Correct posture should maintain these curves. Poor posture, such as slumping, can misalign your musculoskeletal system, cause neck and back pain, wear away at your spine, decrease your flexibility, and more. Ideally, your head should be aligned over your shoulders and your shoulders should be back, with your stomach pulled in. While practicing can help improve your posture over time, chiropractic care can also help correct poor posture. Slouching forward can stress the spine, resulting in pain. By realigning the spine and vertebrae, pain can be relieved. Additionally, a chiropractor can make adjustments and slow joint movements that help increase movement within the joint. This will ease you into good posture without any pain.
There are approximately 45 million Americans complaining of headaches each year. It is the most common form of pain and can range from sharp to dull pain. Sometimes, headaches are accompanied by other symptoms like nausea or dizziness. There are over 150 different types of headaches, with the most common types of headaches being tension, migraine, and cluster headaches. Many people turn to over-the-counter medication, like Tylenol, to relieve pain from headaches, but this does not address the cause of the headache itself. Headaches can be caused by many things, but some of the most prominent causes are stress and back or neck strain. Chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for headaches. Chiropractors can help determine the cause of your headache, and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve your headaches. A 2016 study found that 6 to 8 sessions of cervical and upper thoracic spinal adjustments were more effective than exercise for relieving pain. Chiropractic care can improve both acute and chronic neck pain, which, in turn, can reduce the number of headaches you experience. A chiropractor can also recommend lifestyle changes that can help reduce headaches.
The nervous system controls the digestive system by sending signals to the brain and organs. The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is responsible for the breakdown of food into small pieces until they can be absorbed by the body– this process is known as digestion. As mentioned before, your brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system. This means that your digestive system has a direct link to your nervous system, and to your spine. When vertebrae become misaligned, they can put pressure on nerves or block signals being sent from the brain to the digestive system.. This can cause issues with digestion, such as bloating, discomfort, and heartburn. Chiropractic adjustments can remove these interferences and help your digestive system function properly. Additionally, chiropractic care has been shown to reduce inflammation within the body, which can promote healing and healthy digestion. Studies have also shown that chiropractic care can help reduce flare-ups from conditions such as Crohn’s disease and manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
These are just a few of the many benefits of chiropractic care. Seeking chiropractic care is the first step on your journey to a healthy and pain-free life. If you have any further questions about chiropractic care and its benefits, feel free to reach out to us. I hope you found this article informative. If you or a loved one are suffering from any type of joint or back pain, you may benefit from chiropractic care. Consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic! We specialize in different chiropractic techniques, as well as both therapeutic and Swedish massage. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a long-term treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a healthy and pain-free life– it’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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