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What to do About Degenerative Disc Disease

What to do About Degenerative Disc Disease

You can live life for years being none the wiser about damages happening to your spinal discs. They’re round cushioning structures located between your vertebrae to absorb shock when you move or twist your back. Over time, they can dry out, accumulate injury-related damage, or their layers can wear down. 

The typical patient with degenerative disc disease is active and otherwise healthy. Physical activity, though good for your health, can cause your spinal discs to wear down faster than they would otherwise. Your body’s natural repair systems won’t repair damaged discs, but there are plenty of steps you can take to slow down damage and maintain the disc health you still have. 

Elation Physical Therapy provides rehabilitative services like physical therapy and recovery training so you can manage symptoms of degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or other back problems that originate in or around your spine. 

With expert assistance from Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, MCHES and Jonathan Koborsi, PT, DPT, and the rest of our team in our Houston and Pearland, Texas, offices, it’s never been easier to get back to the activities you love despite a degenerative disc disease diagnosis. There are steps you can take at home to reduce your pain and any other possible symptoms like numbness, tingling, weakness, and foot drop. 

Watch how you move

It’s no secret that degenerative disc disease pain tends to feel worse when you bend down, sit down, stand up, lift heavy objects, or twist your back. Any time you use your back to move, you might feel a twinge of pain. On the other hand, laying down or changing to a more neutral position provides temporary relief. 

As daunting as it might sound to facilitate certain back movements purposefully, doing so can help improve your pain. Manual manipulation and physical therapy both help with stretching and strengthening your back while increasing circulation to nourish the discs. 

In your day-to-day life, you should try to be mindful of your posture or the position of your back. Keeping excellent posture minimizes the stress that your spinal discs withstand. This is particularly crucial for preventing future degenerative damage to your discs and slowing the condition’s progression. 

Learn how to stretch

Our physical therapists know a thing or two about stretching your back to benefit your discs. A good stretch can take the pressure off a sore disc to relieve tension. Regular stretching throughout the day also helps you develop your posture and keep the excess stress off your spine. 

Use ice and heat

Alternating cold and hot temperatures on painful areas, such as your lower back, helps bring down the inflammation, which gives your spinal discs as much leeway as possible. 

While using ice and heat to manage inflammation, you should be sure not to keep either temperature on your back for too long. You should time yourself and allow between 10 and 15 minutes with ice or heat on your back before switching to the other.

It’s also worth noting that placing ice directly on your skin can burn you. To make sure you don’t cause yourself any additional discomfort by damaging your skin, it helps to wrap the ice pack in a cloth or towel before applying it. Similarly, make sure your source of warmth isn’t hot enough to burn you. 

Set up a visit at our offices

We here at Elation Physical Therapy provide personalized physical therapy to ease musculoskeletal pain, and degenerative disc disease is one of our specialties. For expert treatment that minimizes your chances of needing surgery for a disc problem, contact our offices with a phone call or schedule an appointment online with a click.

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