Degenerated Discs

The treatment of degenerated disc should be a part of the everyday repertoire of any competent DC. How fast you get relief will depend on your doctor's skill set and experience.

However one must recognize that when a disc or discs have degenerated, the condition has become chronic, and will probably require ongoing or supportive therapy once symptoms are successfully treated.

In the example to the left, we see a reasonably normal cervical spine. The curvature is still a nice natural "C"-shape (the yellow line). The discs, two of which are shown between the blue lines, are mostly normal and the surfaces are parallel. One disc however, in the center, as shown by the red circle, has been injured, and is showing signs of onset of degenerative disc disease (DJD).

In the second illustration , we see a cervical spine in the third stage of degenerated disc (DJD), with severely thinned discs, and much spurring.

Having waited so long to start treatment, success in such cases is measured not in complete cure, but in how often the patient will need to receive therapy.

The frequency of treatment for degenerated disc will depend on several factors; e.g., the age of the patient, the amount of time the patient waited to commence treatment, and the the severity of the degenerative changes involved.

Until age 30, one has a blood supply bringing water, glucose and oxygen to the tissues of the discs. From about 30 to 35 (on average), this blood supply dries up, and the discs dessicate (dry up)... this is the primary reason people lose height as they age.

The disc tissue can remain alive, if there is normal movement of the associated joints, allowing a pumping mechanism which brings the Water, Glucose, and Oxygen to the cells of the disc by osmosis and diffusion.

Thus treatment of such cases is largely like opening a door with a rusty hinge, i.e. it may creak when first opened, and this can in a few cases initially bring increased inflammation to the already sore joint. However, if the patient continues to have the joint moved by adjustments, s/he will usually quickly get past this initial irritation and see range-of-motion significantly improved. It should be stated that MOST patients just experience improvement and relief from the first visit.

Improperly explaining this phenomenon to patients is the largest single cause of people thinking they had a bad experience with Chiropractic, when it was usually due to a simple lack of communication.

If YOU have been told you have degenerative disc syndrome, before you spend large amounts of money on flashy machines, or more invasive procedures, please bring your films to our offices for a personal consultation with Dr. Press.