What can you do to treat degenerative disc disease?
Degenerative disc disease refers to the deterioration of the spinal discs as a result of the natural aging process. Because the spinal discs serve as the spine’s shock absorbers, they naturally wear down through the years. Additionally, the spinal discs become more brittle and dehydrated, leaving them prone to tearing, bulging or becoming misshapen, flattening or herniating. If your physician has diagnosed you with degenerative disc disease, it may be indicated by any type of damage that affects these discs.
Treatment options for degenerative disc disease
Although the damage to the discs cannot be reversed, there are numerous treatment options for degenerative disc disease that you can explore to help alleviate your symptoms and slow down the degeneration of the spinal discs. These include:
- Using pain medications — for symptom flare-ups
- Applying hot or cold compresses — to reduce inflammation and muscle tightness
- Doing low-impact aerobic exercises — every day, if possible
- Doing physical therapy — to learn targeted stretching techniques
- Practicing good posture — including using a back brace if necessary
- Losing excess weight — and maintaining a balanced diet
- Avoiding tobacco products — and limiting alcohol consumption
All of these methods can help you manage your symptoms while also promoting a strong and healthy spine. In many cases, individuals with degenerative disc disease are able to effectively manage their symptoms using a combination of these conservative approaches.
Surgery for degenerative disc disease
In more advanced cases of degenerative disc disease, conservative treatments may not provide adequate symptom relief. If your symptoms persist or worsen after several weeks or months of exploring your conservative options, it may be time to consider surgery as the next step.
As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery that uses smaller incisions and generally has shorter recovery times.^ We can provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute. For more information, contact us today.