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Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease

Home News & Videos Back Conditions Treatment Options for Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) impacts the stability and flexibility of the spine. This condition can cause a range of symptoms initially, such as moderate back pain, neck pain, and general discomfort. As it progresses, DDD can cause more severe pain, muscle aches, and limits to mobility.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease aims to ease the pain and discomfort and improve mobility and spinal stability. There are several treatment options that can help, and people at all stages can see a great deal of improvement thanks to specialized physical therapy. Contact JAG PT to learn more about how we treat degenerative disc disease, book your appointment today, or read further for more information on your options when you have DDD.

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease, and How Does It Impact Spinal Health?

Degenerative disc disease is characterized by the gradual breakdown of the intervertebral discs, which are fibrous cushions that absorb any forces applied between the vertebrae and the spine. Healthy discs keep the vertebrae from wear and damage, and when they start to degenerate, your mobility and ability to stay active are impacted.

Factors such as aging, overweightness, general wear and tear over time, and a family history of back or spine disorders increase your risk for developing DDD. Another potential cause is dehydration of the spinal discs. The discs consist of 80% water, so if your water intake is too low, the vertebral discs can contract.

What Non-Surgical Treatment Options Are Available for Degenerative Disc Disease

Non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy and pain management techniques, play a vital role in lessening pain and supporting mobility. They can also prevent degenerative disc disease from getting worse and help patients avoid surgery.

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist will use a combination of non-invasive techniques, including massage to ease pain and spine rehabilitation therapy to increase strength and mobility.
  • Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections, administered by a medical practitioner, may reduce pain. This treatment option is usually only used when the pain is more severe, as it does come with some negative side effects, including damage to surrounding tissue.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Regular exercise, eating a vitamin and mineral-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding nicotine and excess alcohol can help patients manage pain and other symptoms of DDD.

How Can Professional Physical Therapy Assist in Managing Degenerative Disc Disease?

Physical therapy can play a foundational role in treating degenerative disc disease because it addresses the pain while also increasing spine stability and improving your range of motion.

An experienced physical therapist may use any combination of the following treatments:

  • Manual therapy, such as deep tissue massage, to relieve stiff joints and tight muscles
  • Posture correction to improve the way you sit, stand, and sleep so your body mechanics don’t aggravate your intervertebral discs
  • Exercise, including strengthening exercises, to help the rest of the body support your spinal joints, and aerobic exercise to relieve pain and promote a healthy weight
  • Stretching and flexibility exercises to enhance your mobility

What Surgical Treatment Options Are Available for Severe Degenerative Disc Disease Cases?

Surgery is often considered the last resort to improve stability or range of motion, and most people won’t need it. However, if other treatments aren’t working, your doctor might recommend it. If you need a surgical procedure, JAG PT’s pre- and post-operative PT program will help you prepare, recover better, and achieve the best possible medical outcome.

Here are the most common surgeries for DDD:

  • Spinal decompression surgery is a procedure that relieves pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Spinal fusion involves fusing two or more vertebrae by placing bone or bone-like material in between and using a medical device to hold them together.
  • Disc replacement is a procedure where a surgeon replaces a degenerated disc with an artificial one.
  • Minimally invasive surgeries, such as a discectomy or some types of spinal decompression, enable a doctor to treat the problem after making only a small incision.

Find Relief and Restore Spinal Health with JAG Physical Therapy

JAG Physical Therapy is a trusted provider of physical therapy for degenerative disc disease in NY, NJ, and PT. Our experienced therapy staff will provide a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate your pain while also strengthening and supporting your spine. Schedule your appointment today and let us help you get started with spinal healing.

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