5 Exercises You Can Do to Battle DDD

A byproduct of aging, degenerative disc disease or DDD is a difficult condition to live with. As we grow older, not all of us will experience pain from the degeneration of the spinal disc. However, the disease affects everyone to a certain extent. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 40% of people aged 40 have degenerative disc disease; the number increases to 80% among those 80 and older.

Each and every action we do affects our spine. Doing regular exercises won’t undo the damage in the spine, but it can ease some of the symptoms caused by degenerative disc disease and may also slow the development of the condition.

Exercise

Dealing with the effects of DDD is not easy. Discomfort and pain can lessen your quality of life with the mobility issues the condition causes. Fortunately, the following exercises can significantly develop your muscle strength and flexibility that will support your spine. Staying active is an extremely effective way to maintain the physical functionalities you can still do.

Exercise enhances the flow of oxygen, blood, and other nutrients to your back muscles and discs. This process keeps them flexible and hydrated. Regular exercises also vastly improve your general wellbeing by encouraging the release of endorphins.

Yoga

Yoga can immensely improve your DDD symptoms. While it won’t magically give you a new back or spine, doing regular yoga exercises can better support your core and loosen up the tightness and tension. Focus on your hamstrings with yoga poses like the warrior III,  seated forward bend, and standing forward bend. Alleviating the pressure in the hamstrings aids in getting rid of the tightness in the lower back. The bridge pose also supports strength and flexibility in the hips and lower back.

Psoas Muscle Stretches

The psoas muscle group includes the connectors between your torso and legs. These muscles stabilize your spine and influence your posture. Biking, running, or simply sitting down – whatever physical activity you are doing, this essential muscle group is involved.

Focusing on the psoas muscles can ease some back pain symptoms related to degenerative disc disease. If your muscles in the low back are weak, they put a strain on the spine which can result in pain and fatigue. There are yoga poses that can benefit the psoas muscles. For the bridge pose, you will need a yoga strap or a belt as you lay down and extend your legs up one at a time. Place the strap around the sole of your feet, and pull to stretch your lower back and hamstring. Hold the pose for as long as you can on each side.

You can also focus on the psoas muscles with the warrior I pose. Additionally, lunges also relieve tightness in the lower back and stretch and lengthen the hamstrings.

Water Aerobics

If you’re experiencing moderate pain and are quite inflexible, water aerobics may be the ideal exercise activity for you. When you’re in the water, there is no stress being put on your joints; thus, water aerobic exercises provide a workout that won’t stress your muscles as opposed to more traditional exercises.

Stationary Bike

For people with back pain and degenerative disc disease, stationary bikes with backrests are excellent workout equipment to use. With a stationary bike, you can achieve improved stamina and stronger leg muscles without adding too much tension on your spine and lower back.

Walking

One of the worst things, when you’re experiencing back pain, is being immobile. Taking short walks is an excellent way to get in some cardio exercises while also relieving your stiff back. If you have an unsteady stride, use a walking stick or cane for support.

Healthy Diet

A well-balanced and healthy diet plays a vital role in moderating the pain caused by DDD. Spinal discs can benefit from hydration, or making sure you drink enough water throughout the day and avoiding alcohol and smoking. Alcohol causes dehydration, while any nicotine intake prevents the oxygen flow within your body.

Final Words

By making a recurring effort to manage the pain, you can ease DDD symptoms. However, in its advanced stages, degenerative disc disease may bring about chronic pain in the spine. This is due to the severe degeneration in the spinal disc. If the pain you’re experiencing isn’t responding to the exercises and physical activities, it’s best to consult a specialist about other treatment options that suit you.

 

Nerve Pains and How to Treat Them

Any aching pain, sensation, weakness, or numbness that is caused by raised pressure on an area of a nerve can lead to a pinched nerve. This condition is most commonly associated with a neck injury or back pain, and other body positionings including poor posture, leaning on elbows, or regularly crossing legs; however, almost any nerve in the body is susceptible.

If nerves are compressed for a short time, they can typically repair themselves. However, it may take a few weeks up to several months for the symptoms to go away. Also, permanent nerve injuries may occur if the compressions remain for a long time.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a pinched nerve vary; the warning signals sent to the brain cause different symptoms, primarily depending on what nerve is affected. In general, the symptoms of this condition are:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles or stinging pain

Those signs may also worsen after just waking up or from lying down for a while. Also, a pinched nerve poses other risk factors.

Arthritis and disc herniation in the spine can cause increased pressure on nerves which results in pain linked to a pinched nerve.

Water retention leading to weight gain can contribute to developing this nerve condition. Thyroid disease, in particular, causes water retention which then leads to weight gain and can consequently increase the risk of pinched nerves. Also, pregnancy is associated with weight gain and occasional water retention.

Repetitive physical activities including using specific equipment and typing can increase the swelling around nerves.

Common Affected Areas

  • Carpal tunnel

  • Ulnar nerve at the elbow, which is caused by frequently leaning on elbows while driving or sitting
  • Peroneal nerve injury, which is associated with crossing the legs
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which is commonly seen in pregnancy and is also usually caused by putting pressure on the nerve leading to the upper thigh
  • Sciatic nerve
  • Cervical spine

Diagnosis

The diagnosis starts with performing a thorough physical examination and taking a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms. Depending on the results, the diagnosis may be confirmed right away or may require further testing. Electromyography is a study of nerve conduction to help affirm the diagnosis of pinched nerves and determine the scope of the nerve damage. If the pinched nerve is around the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (back), then a CT scan or MRI may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause.

Treatment

The treatment plan for this type of nerve condition will depend on two factors: the location of it in the body and the cause. Typically, taking a rest and not moving the affected area is useful, mainly if repetitive physical activities cause it.

If the problem area is in the lower back or neck, then physical therapy is often the recommended solution. Doing exercises may strengthen the muscles and lessen the pressure on nerves. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and prescribed corticosteroids may be taken.

For carpal tunnel syndrome, bracing the wrist is often done. For ulnar neuropathy or common peroneal neuropathy cases, adjusting body positions may be required. Additionally, weight loss can be beneficial for many types of this nerve condition. Surgery may also be necessary but only in cases where medication, physical therapy, and injections didn’t work.

All of these treatment plans have one goal: relieve the pressure on the problem areas of the nerve.

Home Remedies

Extra rest and sleep

Getting adequate sleep and rest is essential for a healing nerve. When we sleep, our body repairs itself, so getting more sleep and rest gives our body a chance to heal longer. Most of the time, resting the problem areas and getting more sleep are enough to relieve the pain and swelling of a pinched nerve. Furthermore, nerve conditions may worsen with excessive use of the nerve, so find a sleeping position that is comfortable on the nerve. If you have a pinched nerve, try not to overwork the nerve.

Improved posture

Poor posture can either cause or aggravate a pinched nerve. Standing or sitting with incorrect, wrong posture for extended periods can cause stress and tension on the body. This scenario may further damage the muscles. Using neck and wrist rests, adjustable chairs, and cushions when sitting may relieve pressure on the nerve.

Ergonomic workplace

Since a lot of us spend the majority of our day at work, the environment and activities in the workplace may contribute to a pinched nerve occurrence. Making use of ergonomic keyboard and mouse can help alleviate the pressure in the wrists and hands. Elevating the computer monitor helps raise the eye level that may prevent neck pain. A standing workstation features different positional options that could help remove pressure on the back. Try out these positions to find the right one for your pinched nerve situation.

Nerve Pains and How to Treat Them

Any aching pain, sensation, weakness, or numbness that is caused by raised pressure on an area of a nerve can lead to a pinched nerve. This condition is most commonly associated with a neck injury or back pain, and other body positioning including poor posture, leaning on elbows, or regularly crossing legs; however, almost any nerve in the body is susceptible.

If nerves are compressed for a short time, they can typically repair themselves. However, it may take a few weeks up to several months for the symptoms to go away. Also, permanent nerve injuries may occur if the compressions remain for a long time.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a pinched nerve vary; the warning signals sent to the brain cause different symptoms, primarily depending on what nerve is affected. In general, the symptoms of this condition are:

Muscle weakness
Pain
Burning
Tingling
Pins and needles or stinging pain

Those signs may also worsen after just waking up or from lying down for a while. Also, a pinched nerve poses other risk factors.

Arthritis and disc herniation in the spine can cause increased pressure on nerves which results in pain linked to a pinched nerve.

Water retention leading to weight gain can contribute to developing this nerve condition. Thyroid disease, in particular, causes water retention which then leads to weight gain and can consequently increase the risk of pinched nerves. Also, pregnancy is associated with weight gain and occasional water retention.

Repetitive physical activities including using specific equipment and typing can increase the swelling around nerves.

Common Affected Areas

 

.

Carpal tunnel
Ulnar nerve at the elbow, which is caused by frequently leaning on elbows while driving or sitting
Peroneal nerve injury, which is associated with crossing the legs
Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which is commonly seen in pregnancy and is also usually caused by putting pressure on the nerve leading to the upper thigh
Sciatic nerve
Cervical spine

 

Diagnosis

The diagnosis starts with performing a thorough physical examination and taking a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms. Depending on the results, the diagnosis may be confirmed right away or may require further testing. Electromyography is a study of nerve conduction to help affirm the diagnosis of pinched nerves and determine the scope of the nerve damage. If the pinched nerve is around the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (back), then a CT scan or MRI may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause.

Treatment

The treatment plan for this type of nerve condition will depend on two factors: the location of it in the body and the cause. Typically, taking a rest and not moving the affected area is useful, mainly if repetitive physical activities cause it.

If the problem area is in the lower back or neck, then physical therapy is often the recommended solution. Doing exercises may strengthen the muscles and lessen the pressure on nerves. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and prescribed corticosteroids may be taken.

For carpal tunnel syndrome, bracing the wrist is often done. For ulnar neuropathy or common peroneal neuropathy cases, adjusting body positions may be required. Additionally, weight loss can be beneficial for many types of this nerve condition. Surgery may also be necessary but only in cases where medication, physical therapy, and injections didn’t work.

All of these treatment plans have one goal: relieve the pressure on the problem areas of the nerve.

Home Remedies

Extra rest and sleep

Getting adequate sleep and rest is essential for a healing nerve. When we sleep, our body repairs itself, so getting more sleep and rest gives our body a chance to heal longer. Most of the time, resting the problem areas and getting more sleep are enough to relieve the pain and swelling of a pinched nerve. Furthermore, nerve conditions may worsen with excessive use of the nerve, so find a sleeping position that is comfortable on the nerve. If you have a pinched nerve, try not to overwork the nerve.

Improved posture

Poor posture can either cause or aggravate a pinched nerve. Standing or sitting with incorrect, wrong posture for extended periods can cause stress and tension on the body. This scenario may further damage the muscles. Using neck and wrist rests, adjustable chairs, and cushions when sitting may relieve pressure on the nerve.

Ergonomic workplace

Since a lot of us spend the majority of our day at work, the environment and activities in the workplace may contribute to a pinched nerve occurrence. Making use of ergonomic keyboard and mouse can help alleviate the pressure in the wrists and hands. Elevating the computer monitor helps raise the eye level that may prevent neck pain. A standing workstation features different positional options that could help remove pressure on the back. Try out these positions to find the right one for your pinched nerve situation.

Choosing a Trusted Chiropractor

If you are enduring body pain of any kind, it’s best to find a medical specialist to take care of it. But when you’ve already typed “chiropractor near me” into Google but still haven’t found the best specialist to help with your issues, then you must not know what to look for and what to avoid.

Depending on what kind of physical pain you are experiencing, chiropractors can provide you with various treatment techniques. They can also identify if the pain is stemming from an underlying cause of a separate condition. Like with any other care provider, you will need to be meticulous in selecting a chiropractor. Thus, here are some tips for you to know how to choose one.

By the end of this post, we hope that choosing a chiropractor near you will not be a bewildering and confusing task anymore. The following simplified steps will narrow down potential candidates.

Get a referral from friends, family, neighbors, and most especially your general medical doctor.

Check if your insurance covers the recommended chiropractors.

Check your state’s licensing and certification board’s site to check the credentials of chiropractors.

Do your research for the condition you have and are seeking treatment for. There are a number of credible sites and resources you can refer to with a lot of information about sciatica, back pain, herniated discs, and other conditions treated by chiropractors. We suggest avoiding individual practice sites; go for independent sources of information. After doing your research, create a list of questions you want to get answers to about your specific condition.

Visit the website of the chiropractor you are interested. Many practices have websites that can be good sources of information. Additionally, a practice’s site can give you feel of how you will most likely be treated as a patient.

Review your doctor’s resume. Try not pay attention to marketing tools such as customer testimonials, particularly ones that are posted on their own website. Instead, look if that “chiropractor near me” you searched online does the following:

  • Requires x-rays when necessary
  • Does not encourage supplement sales
  • Does not emphasize long-term treatment regimens or too many visits
  • Does not make claims unsupported by the scientific and medical community about the value of preventive care and wellness.

Additionally, checking the Yellow Pages may provide extra screening information. Nevertheless, not having a website or any online profile does not make a chiropractor any less qualified.

You may start calling chiropractor practices near you and checking their appointment availability, hours, insurance coverage, and more. This step will tell you if they treat their patients or potential patients with patience, courtesy, and respect.

At this point, you will have your candidate narrowed down. Here are some things to look for you in your first and succeeding visits with the chiropractor:

  • Do you feel comfortable with your chiropractor?
  • Does he or she give you sufficient time on every visit or do your visits with him or her seem rushed?
  • Do your chiropractor seem eager to help you get better as soon as possible and encourage you to take care of yourself?
  • Are the treatments comfortable? A lot of the times, you may experience some soreness and discomfort within the first several visits or sometimes even sooner. But these issues shouldn’t last a day or two. Let your chiropractor know if they do.
  • Are you getting better? When treatment is effective, you should see a significant improvement within the first few sessions.

A Good Office

A medical professional that has his or her own office says a lot about what kind of practice they have. After searching for a “chiropractor near me” online, visit their office and get a “feel” of it. Apart from the chiropractor, you should feel comfortable around the staff as well. They should be friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have and accommodating to your needs. They also shouldn’t put any pressure into getting any of their treatment “packages.” The personality of the chiropractor and the staff will give you the emotional support you need as you get treated for your condition.

  • Watch out for These Red Flags
  • Unnecessary repeats of x-ray
  • Months of treatment without re-evaluation
  • No improvement or even worsening of the condition
  • Pre-sold treatment bundles
  • Pressure to sign up for care programs