Chiropractors have become a popular part of the medical arena over the years with many people seeking their treatment for spine, musculoskeletal and nervous system problems and disorders. Chiropractors offer a wide range of treatments for a wide range of conditions. One of the most common conditions people seek chiropractic treatment for is degenerative disc disease (DDD).
The discs in your spine act as shock absorbers. They absorb the shock of everyday activities of bending, lifting and hauling heavy items, exercise, and even help absorb some of the shock of injuries.
Discs are 80% water at birth but dry-out over time as you age. As the discs dry, they become less and less able to absorb shock which means they can become painful for many. This also leaves them more fragile and more susceptible to injury as you age.
How a chiropractor determines if you have true DDD:
• Medical history: Your chiropractor will take a full medical history, noting any specific injuries you may have sustained.
• Physical exam: Your chiropractor will watch you walk and check your range of motion to determine areas of restricted motion, muscle spasms or disc injury.
• Scans: You may have to get an X-ray, CAT scan or MRI which will show areas of degeneration.
Types of treatments for DDD:
There are multiple treatment options for DDD. A common treatment your chiropractor may recommend is spinal manipulation. Types of spinal manipulation include:
• Instrument-assisted manipulation – Using a hand-held instrument, your chiropractor gently applies some force to the area on the spine where motion is restricted without using a thrusting motion into the spine itself.
• Flexion-distraction technique – A type of manipulation that uses a non-thrusting and gentle manipulation of the restricted motion area of the spine. Most often it this method is used to treat herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
• Specific spinal manipulation – After your chiropractor identifies the area that is motion restricted or exemplifies abnormal motion, he’ll use a gentle thrusting technique to help restore movement.
In addition to spinal manipulation, manual therapy is another form of treatment that is used for DDD. Types of manual therapy include:
• Therapeutic massage – This is simply as it sounds, a massage that helps to relieve muscle tension.
• Trigger point therapy – Your Chiropractor Portland OR identifies exact points that are painful for you and applies pressure to relieve tension.
• Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques – The practice of stretching joints and using resistance techniques to help restore mobility.
• Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy – The use of an instrument on specific areas to help relieve tension and pain.
DDD can cause inflammation around the discs and joints. The inflammation alone can cause pain and will need to be controlled to reduce the pain associated with it. Your chiropractor may recommend the following treatments to help reduce inflammation.
• Ultrasound – Ultrasound is the use of sound waves that penetrate deep into the muscle tissue. The ultrasound creates a gentle heat to increase circulation to the afflicted area to help subdue muscle spasms, stiffness and pain.
Chiropractors don’t just perform specific physical procedures for DDD, they treat each person as a whole to educate them on their condition or disease process. They also construct a treatment plan according to each individual’s needs with their degenerative disc disease. For more info, visit Auto & Work Injury Center.
Your chiropractor will determine if the above mentioned procedures are enough for your DDD needs or if other forms of treatment should be included. Your DDD may require more for the control of pain, inflammation and mobility issues, such as:
• Physical therapy
• Alternative treatment
• Therapeutic exercises
Your chiropractor will work with you and your medical doctor to help you resolve your DDD as well as to accomplish your goals for a better, pain-free and healthy life.