According to the Arthritis Foundation, most adults over the age of 60 have degenerative disc disease. This condition occurs when the discs between each vertebrae in the spine lose their ability to effectively absorb shock. As we age, our spinal discs, which have a high water content, begin to dehydrate lessening their ability to function. While age is the most common factor causing degenerative disk disease, other factors can contribute too. Factors such as daily activities, sports, and injuries.
While the effects of this degeneration are different for everyone, some people do experience back and/or neck pain. However, there can be other symptoms typically in conjunction with the pain:
- back pain that extends to the legs
- neck pain that extends to the arms and hands
- tingling and numbness in these extremities
- reduced range of motion
Unfortunately, there is very little blood supply to the spinal discs. So if a disc is weakened or damaged, it cannot heal itself as other body parts can. When the disc continues to deteriorate, that is when a person can begin to experience the symptoms above.
A chiropractor that offers onsite X-rays can determine the level of compression between vertebrae. Treatment can include sessions of time on a decompression table. This device very slowly extends the neck and/or back, relieving the pressure between vertebrae. Relieving the pressure reduces pain, but most importantly can help reduce inflammation around the nerves. Over time, this treatment, in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments, can stop the progression of degenerative disc disease, eliminate pain, and improve flexibility. The goal is to attempt to avoid surgery, however, in some cases, surgery is recommended after all other options have been exhausted. A chiropractor would then refer the person to a specialist for an MRI.
Getting older does not mean settling for aches and pains. You do have the option to grow older pain-free, but the choice is yours.