Living with Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease Management

Have you ever been diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease? Is back pain leaving you unable to perform daily tasks and causing you to miss out on events with children, family and friends? If so, take comfort in knowing that pain associated with degenerative disc disease often subsides or completely goes away over time. Even if discomfort persists, there are ways to live with the condition without sacrificing your overall quality of life.

Getting Your Pain Under Control

The first step in living with degenerative disc disease is to get your pain under control. While everyone responds differently to various treatments, some non-surgical back pain control methods include:

  • Pain medications
  • Massage therapy (or chiropractic adjustments)
  • Epidural injections
  • TENS units (mild electric stimulation of the lower back

Dealing with Occasional Flare-Ups

Once you have your pain under control, you may still experience occasional flare-ups or bouts of pain. Over time, you should have an idea of how to best deal with your pain. For instance, some patients respond well to the application of heat or cold while others do better with over-the-counter pain relievers for occasional pain.

Staying Active and Getting Exercise

After your pain reaches a level that is manageable, you should be able to resume your regular activities. If you haven’t done so previously, consider adopting some type of light-to-moderate exercise routine. Research suggests that exercise can help strengthen muscles and may, in some cases, reduce flare-ups. Exercise can also release endorphins, naturally produced chemicals within your body that may produce results similar to what you would get from some pain relief medications. Activities that may help with your degenerative disc pain include:

  • Stretching
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Water therapy

While degenerative disc disease isn’t considered a progressive disease (meaning that the pain and discomfort will get worse with age) changes in the intensity of the pain should be reported to your doctor for further evaluation.

What If Pain Persists?

While there are many conservative methods for treating degenerative disc disease, there are cases when surgery may be necessary. In surgical procedures such as lumbar artificial disc replacement (for the back) and cervical artificial disc replacement (for the neck), the affected or degenerated disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc that still gives the patient flexibility, range of motion and most importantly, no pain.

To learn more about options for surgery to treat degenerative disc disease, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.