Everyone gets older and as we age, our bodies do as well. This may mean some creaks and pops – and even some pain and lack of mobility.
Often the spine takes one of the hardest hits. Degeneration of the spine is very common and becomes more common in older age groups.
But is it normal? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Degeneration of the Spine?
Degenerative disc disease is an umbrella term that covers several age-related spinal conditions that involve changes to the discs that can cause them to crack, thin, or dry out. It can also refer to conditions that involve herniation or bulging of the soft cartilage core of spinal discs.
The core characteristic of these conditions is that they are degenerative, meaning that they experience changes due to wear and tear but may also be caused by infection, arthritis, injury, tumors, or trauma. These conditions cause pain, mobility issues, and other symptoms.
How Common are Degenerative Spine Conditions?
Most people experience some degree of spinal degeneration as they age. Around 30% of people who are 35 years old will show some signs of disc degeneration. They may have some pain, or they may have no symptoms at all. However, as a person ages, they are more likely to have disc degeneration with more than 90% of people who are 60 years old showing signs of the condition.
Is Degeneration of the Spine Normal?
Degeneration is normal. It is the body’s natural reaction to wear and tear over time. Degeneration itself may not cause pain. But the degeneration of the discs that cause pain, impacts mobility, and inhibits flexibility is known as degenerative disc disease.
In addition to pain, it can cause numbness and weakness, although the type and location of the disc degeneration will dictate the symptoms which can vary from one area of the body to another.
The most common symptom of degenerative disc disease is back and neck pain which is often chronic and is commonly described as sharp or stabbing.
How is Degeneration of the Spine Treated?
Spinal degeneration is often treated with pain medication and sometimes surgery. However, less invasive, drug-free options are not only preferred most of the time, but they are also very effective.
- Exercise – Often special exercises are recommended that will improve muscle strength and increase flexibility.
- Weight Control – Maintaining a healthy weight can help with many medical conditions and spinal degeneration is no different. By removing the added pressure of extra weight that the spine must support, it can often slow degeneration significantly.
- Brace – This treatment can help stabilize the spine and minimize movement that may cause more pain. This is sometimes a temporary aid that adds support while waiting for other treatments to work.
- Chiropractic Care – Many people turn to a chiropractor when they have back pain – and with good reason. Study after study has shown that chiropractic care is an effective pain management method, but it also goes to the root of the problem to provide non-surgical, drug-free relief. It can help minimize the pain of degenerative disc conditions and in many cases slow or halt the progression.
If you are experiencing pain and other symptoms of degeneration of the spine, we can help.
Schedule an appointment with Sandstone Chiropractic today and start feeling better fast. Don’t suffer from neck and back pain when you don’t have to.
Call today and find out how we can help you better manage your pain.