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Nothing lasts forever, including the discs that cushion our spinal vertebrae as well. Over time, these resilient, flexible structures can start to wear out, causing a variety of symptoms including pain near the disc itself and referred pain in other parts of the body. A subluxation (misalignment) in the spinal column can make your pain even worse. But before scheduling surgery, you should know that conservative treatment methods can make you feel and function better -- and Dr. Kothmann provides those solutions here at Lubbock Advanced Physical Medicine.
To understand degenerative disc disease, you first need to understand the discs' anatomy. A spinal disc has a jelly-like fluid inner portion (the nucleus pulpolsus) encased in a tough outer lining (the annulus fibrosus). This arrangement gives the disc its ability to absorb shocks and impacts while preventing the vertebrae from rubbing painfully together. But as the years go by, these discs can slowly lose their water content. This causes them to lose height and bulge, flattening and broadening until a portion of a disc pokes out of the spinal column -- and often onto neighboring nerve roots. This pinching of the nerve roots can cause serious pain that may go shooting down your arms or legs (depending on which nerve roots are involved).
Degenerative disc disease can also involve herniation of the disc. Internal and external pressures may create a rip or tear in the annulus fibrosus, causing the inner material to leak out. The inflammatory proteins in this substance can create severe pain as a result. Even the ligaments surrounding the disc can become stretched or strained in a case of degenerative disc disease.
While degenerative disc disease can't be completely cured, our chiropractor at Lubbock Advanced Physical Medicine can make it a lot easier to live with -- and without any need for painkilling drugs or major surgery. One particularly helpful technique for aiding aged, bulging or herniated discs is called spinal decompression. A motorized table applies just enough distraction force to the spine for negative pressure to form. This negative pressure sucks the bulging or herniated disc back where it belongs, away from surrounding tissues. This relieves your pain and other nerve impingement symptoms while also drawing water back into the discs.
It's worth noting that while the flattening and bulging characteristic of degenerative disc disease is commonly age related, a pre-existing spinal misalignment can accelerate its progress and add to the complications. Misaligned vertebrae place unequal pressure on different parts of the discs, increasing the likelihood of bulges and herniations. Chiropractic adjustment can be a very useful procedure for correcting this imbalance and normalizing the weight distribution across discs. We may prescribe other natural measures as needed to help you stay as pain-free as possible.
Don't let disc pain dominate your life. Call (806) 791-3399 today for an appointment at Lubbock Advanced Physical Medicine.