How does degenerative disc disease feel?

Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe conditions in which there is progressive damage to the intervertebral discs. Walking can help treat degenerative disc disease since it's a mild form of physical therapy, which is good for your spine and joints.
Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe conditions in which there is progressive damage to the intervertebral discs. Walking can help treat degenerative disc disease since it's a mild form of physical therapy, which is good for your spine and joints.

Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe conditions in which there is progressive damage to the intervertebral discs.

Disc degeneration happens with age, but other factors can contribute to this condition. With age, the joints in the knees, hip, and spine undergo wear and tear. The exact reason for this is not known. The wear and tear may be due to an injury to the spine, doing a lot of heavy lifting, or a family history of spine issues.

Along with medications and other treatment methods recommended by your doctor, it's also important to do physical activity at home to manage the condition. 

Walking can help treat degenerative disc disease since it's a mild form of physical therapy, which is good for your spine and joints.

The pain of degenerative disc disease could be in your lower back or the neck. It can extend to the hands, arms, legs, and butt. The pain may be severe or moderate, depending on your individual condition.

It may get worse after you do some activities, such as lifting, twisting, and bending. In some cases, the pain can get worse with time. It's important to talk to your doctor if you notice any symptoms of degenerative disc disease.

Who may get degenerative disc disease?

Older adults are more likely to get degenerative disc disease. Some risk factors that increase a person's chances of getting the disease are:

  • Acute injuries, such as a high fall
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Doing a physically demanding job
  • Sex (women are more likely to have signs of degenerative disc disease)

What is the best treatment for degenerative disc disease?

When you present the signs of degenerative disc disease, your doctor will start with noninvasive treatment options. These are treatment options that don't involve surgery.

Physical therapy is often the first line of defense against degenerative disc disease. Your doctor will recommend that you engage in mild aerobic activity, such as swimming and walking.

If you intend to do stretching or strengthening exercises, make sure you work with a trained physical therapist. Your doctor may also recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and muscle relaxers.

These medications will help keep you relaxed and reduce pain. If there's pain and inflammation in your joints, you may be given a steroid injection to lower the pain.

If the pain is too intense, your doctor may recommend a radiofrequency neurotomy. In this procedure, an electric current is applied to the body to burn sensory nerves. This way, the pain signals are unable to reach the brain, and you don't feel any pain.

Treating degenerative disc disease at home 

You can also find relief in at-home remedies, but these remedies will only cause pain relief for a short time. If you want long-term results, speak to your doctor.

The best at-home remedy for degenerative disc disease is exercise. Try low-impact exercises, like walking, to relieve pain and strengthen your back muscles.

You can also apply heating pads and ice packs every 10 minutes to 15 minutes on the affected area 3 to 4 times every day. This could help lower the inflammation and soreness, but make sure you don't apply the heating pad or the ice pack directly to your body.

Stretching can also help relieve some pain associated with degenerative disc disease. Do some yoga and some basic stretches throughout the day to relieve tension in your muscles and improve your posture.

Next steps

Following some tips can help you get the most out of your visit to a doctor for treating degenerative disc disease.

  • Know why you visited and what you want to prevent in the future.
  • Write your questions down so that you can make the most out of your time with your doctor.
  • Take someone with you to help you ask questions. They can also help you remember whatever the doctor said.
  • Understand why a new medicine is being prescribed to you. Learn about its side effects and benefits.
  • Ask your doctor if there's an alternative way to treat your condition.
  • Ask your doctor why you need to get a test done. You can also ask questions about your test results once they come from the lab.

Degenerative disc disease can take a toll on your health and physical activeness. Doing a mild activity like walking can help you relieve your muscles and retain your range of movement.

If you feel any pain or discomfort during walking, speak to your doctor about it in your next meeting. Don't push your body to extremes. Instead, try walking a few minutes a day and then increase the duration gradually.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/3/2022
References
SOURCES:

Cedars Sinai: "Degenerative Disk Disease."

Cleveland Clinic: "Degenerative Disk Disease."

John Hopkins Medicine: "Degenerative Disc Disease."