Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease, but a condition. Degenerative disc disease is a damaged spinal disc that causes back pain.  It is a normal part of aging to have wear on the spinal discs, and not everyone with this wear will experience the symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease. The spinal discs keep the back flexible and also helps to absorb shock. Because there is little blood flow to the spinal discs, if they are injured they can’t heal themselves, thus it is considered degenerative disc disease. 

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Back pain that worsens with sitting down
  • Back pain that worsens with twisting, bending or lifting 
  • Pain that subsides when walking or running compared to sitting or standing for an extended time
  • Pain that can range in length of time, from a few days to months before relief is felt
  • Pain can be severe or nagging 
  • Pain can spread to other body parts that are surrounding the injured disc, like the neck, thigh and buttocks or it can even radiate to hands and arms
  • Foot drop or leg muscle weakness if the nerve root is damaged
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the extremities   

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Cracks or tiny tears in the outer layer of the disc contribute to degenerative disc disease
  • Fluid loss in the spinal discs contributes to degenerative disc disease
  • Age related break down or degeneration of the spinal discs

Risk Factors of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Smoking
  • Heavy Lifting
  • Falls
  • Injury

Complications of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Surgery
  • Disc replacement
  • injections for pain management
  • Back Braces

Prevention of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Proper lifting techniques
  • Exercise and strengthening of the core 
  • Healthy weight
  • Proper nutrition
  • Non-smoker
  • Maintaining good posture and body mechanics

Things to do at home of Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Exercise
  • Maintain good posture at home and at work
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain proper nutrition and eating habits
  • Stop smoking if you smoke
  • Bend your knees and use proper body mechanics when lifting objects

Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease 

We use the following approaches to relieve Degenerative Disc Disease:

  • ASTR® Tools: Our doctors use a variety of ASTR® tools to release scar tissue and myofascial restriction, which can decrease mobility and flexibility.
  • Special exercise program to decrease pain, strengthen the muscles, stabilize and help the patient to return to normal function and activities.
  • Special instructions on how to speed up the recovery time.
  • Cold Laser Therapy: Tissue inflammation is common with Degenerative Disc Disease. Cold laser is used in order to decrease inflammation that causes pressure on the affected area.
  • Patient avoided hip surgery.

  • Patient avoided back surgery.

  • This newborn came in unable to move his neck from the side position. He suffered from torticollis, severe neck and back spasms. After just 1 ASTR treatment, he had complete range of motion.

  • Patient came in unable to move his neck from the side position. After 3 ASTR treatments, he regained full range of motion.

  • This young gymnast came in unable to do the splits. After just 1 ASTR treatment, she had full range of motion.


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