Many people every day are diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease. It must be bad, because it is a disease! Don’t worry, it’s not contagious and it isn’t as bad as it sounds. All it means is that the disc in between the bones in your spine has decreased in height. Which is a natural part of the maturing process that everyone will eventually go through. The wrinkles in our skin show that we are getting more mature, just like the decreases in the height of our discs. Think of it like the wear and tear on the tread of your tires that causes it to decrease overtime. Just like your tire tread and the enamel on your teeth, once it is gone you can’t get it back. Our goal in physical therapy is not to replace your disc height, but rather maintain the integrity of it as long as possible. By maintaining mobility in your spine we can keep it lubricated, which keeps helps preserve the disc integrity. We typically accomplish this through a series of manual therapy techniques, self-mobilizations, stretches,strength training and lots of education. Our tissues will react to the stresses we place on them, so we have to stress our tissues to increase their ability to tolerate stress!
Written by Justin Bickford, DPT, OCS, CSCS, COMT, Director of Rehab