What Is Disc Degeneration?
Discs begin to lose fluid and dry up. They develop cracks and begin to lose height. As the vertebrae come closer together, narrowing of the holes where the nerve exits occurs and leads to nerve compression. The loss of height also loads facet joints, which are pain sensitive. Over time, spurs can form, and bone enlarges. Excess bone growth can also create nerve compression and irritation.
Disc degeneration is not always painful. A good patient history and physical exam are important in determining if it is a problem and what the other factors are.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Pain may stay in the back, buttocks, or upper thighs. It can lead to radiating pain down the leg.
- Generally worse with bending, lifting, or twisting.
- Pain can come and go. The type of pain can vary from nagging dull pain to sharper pain with some movements.
- Pain can be worse with sitting or prolonged standing.
- May be relieved by changing positions, lying down or some walking.
What Causes It?
Disc degeneration is part of the aging process. Everyone is going to develop some degree disc degeneration, even if they do not have symptoms. Some research has shown that between the ages of 35-45, only 25% of people had totally normal discs.
The general thought has been that disc degeneration is related to wear and tear. Sitting, bending, twisting, and lifting all put stress on discs. Poor postures, repetitive activities, injury and smoking are all factors. This is only part of the story.
Research studying twins found there to be strong genetic component. They concluded that it was even more important than wear and tear factors.
How is it Diagnosed?
Changes in the height of the disc and bony changes, such as spurs can be seen on x-ray. MRI shows more detail including the loss of fluid in the discs.
It is not necessary to do imaging immediately. It has been found that imaging does not change the course or outcome of treatment. In the absence of red flag symptoms, the
Diagnosis is initially based upon case history and exam findings.
Cox flexion distraction manipulation is used to decompress the disc. This helps to pull fluid back into the disc, relieve pressure from the nerves and restore more normal motion. If pain is severe or extends below the knee, we recommend daily treatment. When the leg pain reduces 50%, then we cut the treatment frequency in half.
Therapy modalities may also be used to sedate the nerves, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation.
Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are recommended to help in the healing and maintenance of the disc.
THE MOST ADVANCED COX TABLE EVER DESIGNED
We are pleased to announce the addition of the most advanced Cox decompression table ever designed, to our office! The Cox 8 Force Table is a state of the art instrument. Built in sensors send data to a computer, giving the doctor real-time information about the amount of decompressive force being applied.
Discuss your case with the doctor to see if you are a candidate for treatment.
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“I was looking for something where I didn’t have to take pills. I wanted to avoid surgery.”
“Before I came in, I could not even roll over in bed.”
“I had a severe low back injury that left me in the hospital for 3 months. We did physical therapy, pain management and nothing seemed to help.”
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11791 W 112th Street #101
Overland Park, KS 66210
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