What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) mostly results when the spinal discs wear abnormally, often resulting in pain and loss of function.

Just like the tread on your tires will wear uneven when the front end is out of alignment…so will the spinal discs when the spine is out of alignment. When the discs lose their normal height and water content they lose the ability to function properly.

Loss of disc height brings the spinal bones closer together which can cause nerve irritation. The discs also are prone to disc bulging and disc herniations which can pinch nerves resulting in pain and disability.

When the spine is out of alignment it also causes abnormal stresses on the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This can cause spinal degeneration and calcification of the ligaments.  All of the above are typically part of the degenerative disc disease complex.

So how do you know if you have DDD?

Well, in advanced cases you may have symptoms such as back or neck pain, arm or leg pain (sciatica), numbness in the extremities, weakness of grip, night pain, loss of normal motion, to name a few.

Or…you may have no symptoms at all.

Since DDD develops slowly over time as the result of spinal misalignment’s, it’s best to be checked by a chiropractor frequently to make sure things are in place.  Children should be checked as well.

X-ray is the best way to confirm degenerative disc disease or spinal degeneration.  A chiropractor will often takes x-rays when DDD is suspected.

If you are experiencing back or neck pain and it does not seem to want to go away, you may have DDD. The good news is that DDD responds favorably to chiropractic adjustments and exercise.  A visit to the chiropractor is probably your best bet.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors please call 415-392-2225.

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