Things to Avoid With Degenerative Disc Disease

Doctor examining patient with back pain

Chronic back and neck pain can be caused by degenerative disc disease, a condition that results in the deterioration of spinal discs. Patients with this condition should make certain adjustments to their activities and movements to prevent further damage. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics (CNSO) provides medical care for patients with brain, nerve, and spine conditions in northern New Jersey. CNSO offers a wide range of treatments for conditions like degenerative disc disease, including spine surgery, physical therapy, and pain management. Here, the CNSO team discusses movements patients with degenerative disc disease should avoid.

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

The spinal column is made up of vertebrae with cartilage cushions between them, called discs. The discs play an important part in allowing for comfortable movement and a good range of motion. Over time, these spinal discs wear down and can lead to degenerative disc disease, a common condition that occurs in most aging people. Spinal discs wearing down is a normal part of the aging process, but the deterioration can be sped up due to a previous motor vehicle accident or sports injury.

When the discs deteriorate enough, it can lead to symptoms like neck and back pain, radiculopathy (pain that radiates down the limbs), weakness, and numbness. Depending on how severe the deterioration is and where in the spinal column it is located, the symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. The treatment will depend on how severe the symptoms are. Doctors typically will try non-invasive treatment methods first, such as physical therapy and pain management, before resorting to more invasive methods like radiofrequency ablation or surgery.

Ways to Help Degenerative Disc Disease

In addition to medical treatment options, patients with degenerative disc disease can make a few lifestyle adjustments to help their symptoms. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Foods like whole grains, leafy greens, and lean protein help to provide proper nutrition and decrease inflammation.
  • Exercise and stretching: Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and stretching can help ease minor pain.
  • Hot and cold therapy: Using heat or ice packs (or both) can help soothe pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Weight loss: Losing weight can help to reduce pressure on the discs caused by excess pounds.
  • Massages: Poor blood flow is one of the reasons discs deteriorate, but getting massages helps to improve blood circulation.

These are some of the ways that patients with degenerative disc disease can help to reduce their symptoms without invasive measures.

What to Avoid with Degenerative Disc Disease

The symptoms of degenerative disc disease often can get worse after long periods of sitting or doing strenuous activities such as bending, twisting, or lifting. Therefore, it is recommended that patients with degenerative disc disease avoid doing certain things, including:

  • Staying in prolonged positions: Sitting in the same position for a long time reduces blood flow to the back and can lead to increased pain.
  • Slouching: Bad posture can aggravate back pain and make it worse.
  • Doing improper movements: Doing exercises or movements that involve pulling, pushing, twisting, or heavy lifting can strain the back further and make symptoms worse.
  • Eating inflammatory foods: Eating foods like fried foods, soda, and red meat can contribute to increased inflammation and worse symptoms.

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment at CNSO

Patients with degenerative disc disease can make changes to help their symptoms, but sometimes that is not enough. For more severe cases, patients need to seek care from a spine specialist like those at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics. CNSO provides care for brain, nerve, and spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease, with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach. The dedicated team of specialists includes:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Orthopedic spine surgeons
  • Interventional pain management physicians
  • Physiatrists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Certified physical therapists

All these specialists work together to provide a personalized treatment plan that offers the best results. CNSO takes a conservative approach to care, trying pain management and physical therapy options before moving on to more invasive procedures like surgery.

Request an Appointment With a Spine Specialist Today

Whether a patient is already diagnosed with degenerative disc disease or suspects they have it, they can trust in Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics to provide quality care. CNSO offers patients multiple office locations throughout northern New Jersey so high-quality care is not far from home. From diagnosis to treatment, CNSO is committed to providing multidisciplinary care that aligns with the patient’s needs and preferences. To learn more about degenerative disc disease treatment options at CNSO, contact us today to request an appointment.

Centers for Neurosurgery Spine & Orthopedics