How Chiropractors Help Patients With Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?
Cervical degenerative disc disease is much less common than disc degeneration in the lumbar spine because the neck generally is subjected to far less torque and force. And it is diagnosed when a damaged disc in the spine becomes symptomatic. Pain from cervical degenerative disc disease is usually felt as a stiff neck, but it can also radiate into the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers, depending on which nerves are being compressed or irritated. The cause of the pain in cervical degenerative disc disease is thought to come from the disc which becomes incompetent as a result of the degenerative process.
Primarily, pain from cervical degenerative disc disease is attributed to either dehydration of your cervical discs or the release of inflammatory proteins by these discs themselves. This condition that can compress the spinal cord and nerves in the neck. This kind of pain is often felt as a stiff neck, but may radiate into the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Cervical degenerative disc disease is less common than disc degeneration in the lumbar spine since the neck is subjected to less torque and force. Sometimes, the first signs of cervical degenerative disc disease are persistent headaches and dizziness, aggravated by any movement of the head.
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back pain and neck pain, and also one of the most misunderstood. Simply put, degenerative disc disease describes the symptoms of pain and possibly radiating weakness or numbness stemming from a degenerated disc in the spine. While the definition sounds simple, many patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease are left wondering exactly what this diagnosis means for them.
Degenerative Disc Disease is a Misnomer
A diagnosis of “degenerative disc disease” is alarming to many patients because it sounds like a progressive, threatening disease. However, it is not really a disease, and it is not strictly degenerative.For most people the term degenerative understandably implies that the symptoms will get worse with age. However, the term does not apply to the symptoms, but rather describes the process of the disc degenerating over time. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better given enough time. The degenerative cascade theory explains how this process works. Another source of confusion is probably created by the term disease, which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc. Read more here.
Cervical degenerative disc disease is a common cause of neck pain and stiffness. and although cervical degenerative disc disease is a natural part of aging, it does not mean you have to live with neck pain.
Two Major Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
Loss of fluid in spinal and cervical cartilage: The fluid in the discs is what allows it to remain flexible and resilient. When less fluid is present, the discs’ ability to absorb shocks from everyday activities is depleted. Fluid loss also results in loss of volume, which brings the discs closer together and causes them to rub together at points where cartilage has been reduced.
Tiny injuries to the protective outer layer of the cartilage: Small injuries from normal activities can cause tearing and cracking in the layer of the discs that keeps the tissue from degrading. The fluid inside the discs is displaced through these injuries, which brings the vertebrae closer together and diminishes the discs’ ability to heal.
People who smoke, who lift heavy objects frequently, who are obese or who sustained a major injury to the back are more likely to experience degenerative disc disease. Poor posture, frequent incorrect body positions and incorrect body movements also contribute to degenerative disc disorder. Degenerative disc disease can result in pain in the neck and the lower back. Depending on which discs are most affected, people can also experience pain and numbness in the legs. Walking, sitting and other normal activities can become painful. Managing pain through exercise and other therapeutic methods are common treatments employed by orthopedic doctors. See more here.
The general treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease is largely the same as for degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine (Read more about Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment).
Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
Treatment for degenerative disc disease ranges from conservative therapies to surgical interventions. Thegoals of treatment are to relieve pain, prevent or reduce stress on the discs, and maintain normal function.
Conservative Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease
Most treatment plans involve a combination of self-administered treatments, medications, and therapeutic measures. Self-administered treatments include the following:
- Learn/practice proper posture and body mechanics
- Rest and restrict activities
- Limited bed rest to take pressure off the spine
- Mild activity (exercise) such as walking, biking, and swimming
Medications to Treat Degenerative Disc Disease
In some cases, medications are used to supplement conservative therapy. Medications that may be used include the following:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)
- Pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen)
- Muscle relaxants. Read full article here.
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease Does Not Require Surgery
Symptoms of the cervical degenerative disc disease are chronic neck pain, with pain radiating to the head, shoulders, arms and hands, stiff or inflexible neck with numbness, tingling, weakness in the neck, arms, or shoulders along with headaches. The manifestations of the disease can be confused with symptoms of other diseases. Cervical degenerative disc disease can be the result of the normal wear and tear of the bones and muscles responsible for the mobility of your upper back and neck.
Complementing this is the treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease can massage used in all kinds of degenerative disc disease and sciatica. This can cause systematic muscle overexertion when performing work operations associated with long-term fixation of the working posture. Treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease is most often carried out using conservative methods. Conservative treatments for cervical degenerative disc disease are attempted for 2-3 months and then evaluated.