What is Degenerative Disc Disease or Arthritis?
Degenerative arthritis is not as much a disease as it is a name for the damage that occurs to the spine, discs and joints from an injury or from reptitive truama like working at a comupter.
Our discs are made of a tough, rubbery exterior and a soft interior. They sit between the vertebrae to act as shock absorbers. As we we lose our good posture through micro injury or accidents, the spinal discs begin to degenerate. This can cause herniated discs, bulging discs, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. As our posture inches forward from our normal center of gravity it also causes more damage to discs as well as the nervous system and our overall health.
Degenerative Disc Symptoms
There may be no symptoms at all for years and start suddenly depending on each patient and the types of activities performed.
Pain may occur at the site of the affected disc in the back or neck. As the pain is often caused by compressed nerves, this pain can also travel to other areas of the body like the buttocks, arms, and legs. Numbness and tingling may also be experienced. Pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating.
As mentioned previously, our spines can degenerate slowly or suddenly. Tears in the tougher outer layer of the disc commonly result in pain or discomfort.
In addition to gravity and misalignment of the spine, other factors may come into play, including obesity, smoking, repeated physical work, sudden injury or the improper posture used with electronic devices. Research proves that poor posture on the phone can cuase herniations of the discs and result in degenerative arthritis. (see the article on neck pain and posture)
Degenerative Arthritis Treatment
Pain caused by degeneration is often treated with hot or cold packs and an anti inflammatory medication. This may include physical therapy, motion exercises, and in some cases, surgery. The newsest and most promising treatment according to much research is rehabilitation of the spinal posture using chiropractic biophysics. It not only helps restore postural alignment but can have dramatic affects on symptoms, prevent disability and improve longevity and quality of life.