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How To Fix Degenerative Disc In Lower Back

Diagnosis Of Degenerated Discs

Strengthen Your Lower Back with Degenerative Disc Disease

In order to diagnose a degenerated disc, a physician takes a medical history, and performs a comprehensive physical examination that includes checking for numbness or weakness, and testing reflexes to determine whether any muscles have atrophied. Several imaging examinations may also be administered they include X-rays, to assess spine alignment MRI scans, to observe any compression of the spinal cord and CT scans, to evaluate the size of the spinal canal and visualize bone spurs. A myelogram, which uses contrast dye for improved visualization during X-rays or CT scans, may also be administered.

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment For Low Back Pain

Watch:Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Video

Most people with degenerative disc disease respond well to nonsurgical treatments.

  • Research indicates that 90% of patients report improvement in back pain and radicular leg pain within 3 months of nonsurgical treatments.1
  • Surgical intervention may be extensive, so most people are well-served making a concerted effort with nonsurgical treatment regimens.

The long-term outlook for this condition is usually favorable, especially when coupled with lifestyle modifications and the correct use of ergonomics.1

This article describes the various treatments available to manage the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, including addressing both painful flare-ups as well as longer-term pain management and rehabilitation.

Medical History And Physical Examination

After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will perform a physical examination. The exam may include the following tests:

  • Neurological examination. A neurological examination will help your doctor determine if you have any muscle weakness or loss of sensation. During the exam, he or she will:
  • Check muscle strength in your lower leg by assessing how you walk on both your heels and toes. Muscle strength in other parts of your body may also be tested.
  • Detect loss of sensation by checking whether you can feel a light touch on your leg and foot.
  • Test your reflexes at the knee and ankle. These may sometimes be absent if there is a compressed nerve root in your spine.
  • Straight leg raise test. This test is a very accurate predictor of a disk herniation in patients under the age of 35. During the test, you lie on your back and your doctor carefully lifts your affected leg. Your knee stays straight. If you feel pain down your leg and below the knee, it is a strong indication that you have a herniated disk.
  • Clinical photo of a doctor performing the straight leg raise test.

    Reproduced from JF Sarwak, ed: Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, ed. 4. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2010.

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    Degenerative Disc Disease Natural Remedies

    By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN

    If youve been dealing with back pain, you may be living with degenerative disc disease. What is it, how does it happen and can you reverse degenerative disc disease?

    This guide has everything you need to know about the condition, including ways to relieve the symptoms with natural remedies.

    Why Might I Need A Lumbar Disk Replacement

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    The main reason you would need a lumbar disk replacement is to treat low back pain. Still, not everyone with low back pain is a good candidate for a lumbar disk replacement surgery. Your doctor will need to do some tests to see if its the right procedure for you.

    In general, lumbar disk replacement surgery might be recommended if:

    • Your back pain mostly comes from only 1 or 2 disks in your lower spine

    • You have no significant joint disease or compression on the nerves of your spine

    • You are not excessively overweight

    • You havent previously had spinal surgery

    • You dont have scoliosis or another spinal deformity

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Degenerative Disc Disease

    The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease are neck pain and back pain. You may experience pain that:

    • Comes and goes, lasting for weeks or months at a time.
    • Leads to numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.
    • Radiates down your buttocks and lower back.
    • Worsens with sitting, bending or lifting.

    What Do They Look For In An Mri Or Ct Scan

    These scans are looking for problems that can occur in the discs that rest between the bones. As you get older, not only does the jelly part of the disc begin to dry up, the radial tire part that holds the jelly inside also can begin to weaken. As it weakens, the pressure of the spine on the disc can begin to squeeze the jelly part against the weakened radial tire part. If the disc sees a lot of stress, the pressure of the jelly can cause a bulge in the disc, . This bulging of the disc is very common as you get more mature, and almost everyone has some disc bulging in their spines. This bulging rarely causes symptoms and is considered a normal part of getting older. If the pressure is great enough and the radial tire part weak enough, this bulge can get larger. This larger bulge is called a protruding disc, and if it gets big enough it may actually push against the nerves as they leave the spinal cord and run to your extremities . This can cause pain or the symptoms of an unhappy nerve: tingling, numbness and weakness.

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    Put The Time In To Get The Time Out

    Look at your healing time as a journey, not a marathon. You will not be complete healed in a matter of days, weeks, and even a month, but in a matter of months.

    There is no cure, so its important that you take things one day at a time to reduce your pain level. With all the options at your disposal, I can assure you will feel better and get better.

    Everyone is in a different stage of their healing process, so you shouldnt compare yourself to that of someone elses. Like for example

    Someone might have degenerative disc pain with a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, and much more, and you might have less. But listen up, the process to get to your freedom all accounts for the same ways..

  • Exercise/stretch
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Alternative treatments
  • At the very core, these are the four you should be focusing on, and one more to add, cognitive behavior.

    So if I were in your shoes, I would really continue with stretching like I showed above, ice and heat for acute inflammation, heat solely for chronic inflammation, or you can mix in a cream/natural remedy, try to work on your muscle imbalances by your posture, and continue with staying green-alternative medicinal remedies.

    Follow this religiously, day to day, and all around, you will feel better in weeks time. It doesnt matter if youre 20, 30, 40, 50 and beyond, anyone is capable of doing it, but it begins with your determination and self-value to want change.

    Do I Need Surgery For Degenerative Disc Disease

    Degenerative Disc Disease Exercises Lower Back All In One Correction

    Many patients do not need surgery for degenerative disc disease. But if you have tried multiple nonsurgical treatments and have persistent pain and/or weakness, surgery may be a good option.

    Or your surgeon may use one of a few types of spinal decompression surgery:

    • Diskectomy: Removing part of a spinal disc to relieve pressure on your nerves.
    • Foraminotomy: Expanding the opening for your nerve roots by removing tissue and bone.
    • Laminectomy: Taking out a small portion of bone from your lower spine .
    • Osteophyte removal: Removing bone spurs .
    • Spinal fusion: During this procedure, your surgeon connects two or more vertebrae to improve stability.

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    What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease

    Spinal disks wear down as a normal part of aging. Especially after age 40, most people experience some disc degeneration. However, not everyone experiences pain.

    You might have pain if your spinal disks:

    • Dry out: Your disks have a soft core that mostly contains water. As you get older, that core naturally loses some water. As a result, disks get thinner and dont provide as much shock absorption as they used to.
    • Tear or crack: Minor injuries can lead to small cracks in your spinal disks. These tears are often near nerves. Tears can be painful, even when they are minor. If the outer wall of your spinal disk cracks open, your disk may bulge out of place, known as a herniated disk, which may compress a spinal nerve.

    Exercise For Disc Degeneration

    Yes, that’s right, degenerative disc disease treatment may include exercise! The number of people that have been told their spine or discs will become further damaged from squatting, deadlifting, running, or other forms of exercise has astonished me. This could not be further from the truth, and is a message that is so disabling I believe it should be considered malpractice. Our bodies were made to exercise, and usually spine/disc disorders are caused by a lack of exercise! We were designed to move and there is nothing more important for our health than to find enjoyable ways to move. Rest DOES NOT WORK and is a very outdated prescription. Prescribing “rest” is prescribing disability, and I am not about that.

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    The Remove Back Pain System

    Were cutting into two paths in the remove back pain system. If you havent read through the herniated disc article, and you feel like you need to so, see below. And if you dont need to, then great!Its time to work on your posture more religiously.

    Are you waiting for a herniated disc to appear on its own? No you shouldnt, and this next article youll learn everything from top to bottom on how to heal a herniated disc the natural way.

    Newest Treatment Options For Degenerative Disc Disease Sufferers

    Degenerative Disc Disease

    Lower back pain is the second most common complaint made by patients to their primary care doctors. In fact, its estimated that 331 million Americans suffer from lower back pain each year, and 50% of adults will experience at least one day of back pain every year. There are many reasons for why we experience lower back pain however, degeneration of the discs in the spine is the single most common pain generator for pain in our lower back.

    Our intervertebral disc sits between two vertebrae, and essentially are the shock absorbers for our spines. Discs provide structural support for the spine and allow the spine and body to move properly. Each disc has a thick fibrous outer layer called the annulus fibrosis as well as a fluid center called the nucleus pulposus. Think of the intervertebral disc like a jelly doughnut: the nucleus pulposus is the jelly and the annulus fibrosis is the doughy crust. The disc goes through normal wear and tear as we age. However, if excess pressure is applied to the disc or if it experiences a traumatic event, those things could accelerate the degenerative process and change the discs normal composition this can result in chronic lower back pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

    Unfortunately, treatments for disc pain are limited to anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, therapeutic injections, and surgery. Many times, the conservative treatments fail and that results in chronic lower back pain.

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    How Is Degenerative Disc Disease Treated

    Usually, your healthcare provider will recommend noninvasive treatment options first. Your treatment may include:

    Nonsurgical Treatment For Degenerative Disc Disease

    Doctors at NYU Langone offer nonsurgical treatment to relieve back or neck pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Pain medication and physical therapy can manage symptoms and help the body adjust to the damaged disc. Together, these treatments can relieve pain and improve function, often long term.

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    When Is Surgery Indicated For Arthritis Of The Spine

    The indications for surgery for arthritis of the spine are similar to those for a disc problem in the spine. If someone has pain that is easily controlled with rest and medication only every now and then, surgery is not indicated. If the pain and nerve symptoms occur frequently, are severe and limit your activity or are not controlled easily with rest and medication and are generally ruining your life, then surgery is a consideration. Rarely the spine with arthritis gets so bad that the bones and spurs begin to constrict the nerves and the spinal cord. This gradual squeezing of the spinal cord is called stenosis and can happen very slowly. In some cases, surgery is necessary to stop or slow down the process and is typically performed only when the symptoms get severe. The surgery for arthritis of the spine depends on exactly what is being pinched and where the arthritis is located. Sometimes the surgery is just to remove the spurs that are compressing the nerves, and sometimes the vertebrae are fused together to prevent the irritation that occurs when the two bones rub against each other when the spine moves. The results of surgery and prognosis after surgery should be discussed with your physician.

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    Degenerative Disc Disease, Herniated & Bulging Disc Low Back Exercises- The Lateral Windmill

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    The 6 Best Home Treatments For Lumbar Ddd

    Heres the 3-step recovery plan for DDD:

    1. Drug-Free Pain Relief 2. Recovery and Healing 3. Prevention

    In fact, it doesnt matter if your lumbar degenerative discs are caused by osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or spinal stenosis:

    The remarkable benefit of natural treatments is that they are capable of dramatically relieving your pain , while at the same time promoting recovery, healing, preventing, and even reversing degenerative discs.

    The following natural treatments will reduce the pressure on your discs, boost blood circulation to the area and reduce the pain-causing inflammation all at the same time.

    Causes Of Degenerative Disc Disease

    Degenerative disc disease is caused by the drying out of a disc. At birth, the spines discs are 80-percent water, but over time, as we age, that hydration level changes, and certain lifestyle choices can speed up the process.

    If a disc is drying out, it tends to lose height and doesnt absorb/distribute shock from impact as effectively.

    While most people will experience natural spinal degeneration as part of aging, this doesnt mean everyone will end up with degenerative disc disease, and this is where many other factors come into play.

    If a person is carrying excess weight, this puts added weight and uneven pressure on the bodys joints, including the spine. This can make the spines discs wear out faster in addition, someone who leads a sedentary life will also not be providing their spine with enough movement to help maintain the hydration level of the discs.

    If a person is repeatedly lifting heavy objects incorrectly , this repeated strain can negatively impact the spinal discs.

    Daily sports and activities can also play a role in the spines health sports that involve repeated jarring impact can cause compression of the spine and lead to tears in a discs outer core.

    In addition, injuries and trauma experienced by the spine, such as in a fall or car accident, can also cause disc damage and instability. The presence of other spinal conditions like scoliosis or osteoporosis can also impact the health of the intervertebral discs.

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    How Does It Feel

    With DDD, you may experience mild to intense neck and back painor no pain at all:

    • A degenerative disk in the neck may cause pain in the arm, shoulder, or neck.
    • A degenerative disk in the low back may cause pain in the back, buttocks, or legs.

    The pain is often made worse by sitting, bending, and reaching. It may be worse first thing in the morning and after staying in any one position for a long time.

    In severe cases, when DDD results in pressure on the nerve root, it can lead to numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the arms or legs.

    Active And Passive Treatment Options

    Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

    The treatments for degenerative disc disease generally fall into two categories:

    • Active treatments, which are performed by the patient
    • Passive treatments, which are done to the patient

    Passive treatments, such as pain medications or injections, are rarely effective on their ownâan active component, such as a controlled, progressive exercise program for rehabilitation, is almost always recommended.

    Additional therapies, such as heat and/or ice therapy, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy, may also provide enough low back pain relief to allow the continuation of an exercise and rehabilitation program.

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    Physical Therapy Guide To Degenerative Disk Disease

    Read Time:

    It is estimated that as many as 80% of us will have some form of back or neck pain at some point in our lifetimes. The good news is that most of us will recover without the need for surgery. Conservative care, such as physical therapy for many types of back pain, provides similar results to those obtained from surgery. Degenerative disk disease can be one cause of back and neck pain. However, DDD is part of the natural aging process, like getting gray hair, and in many cases is not painful at all.

    Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.


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