Because degenerative disc disease, or DDD, can weaken the structures of the spine significantly, you might need to focus on strengthening your back, neck, and core muscles to improve the condition. Subsequently, the proper care and treatment for DDD can help support the spine better, which might result in decreased pain. A healthcare professional may often recommend physical therapy to help treat degenerative disc disease.
Physical therapy includes both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help relax you and your body. They are called passive because these do not require individuals to actively participate in the treatment. If you’re experiencing severe pain, you’ll most likely start with passive treatments while your own body heals and/or recovers from the symptoms of the disorder. However, the goal of physical therapy is to get the patients into treatments that are lively. These are curative exercises that reinforce the body to ensure the spine has better support and structure.
Passive Physical Therapy for DDD
Your physical therapist may give you one of the following passive treatments:
- Deep tissue massage: This technique targets chronic muscle tension that could build up through daily life stress and spasms. You could also have spasms or muscle tension due to strains or sprains from sports injuries or other injuries. A physical therapist may utilize direct pressure and friction to release the tension in your soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles.
- Hot and cold treatments: The physical therapist will switch between cold and hot therapies. Through the use of heat, the physical therapist will achieve an increased blood flow to the target area. More oxygen and nutrients are brought to the affected region as a result of an increased blood circulation. Good circulation is also needed to remove waste by-products developed by muscle spasms.
- Cold therapy, also called cryotherapy, slows circulation, helping to reduce inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. An ice massage or an ice pack can be used to perform cold therapy. Another cryotherapy option is a spray called fluoromethane, which can cool the body’s tissues. A physical therapist may work with you to additionally stretch the muscles that are affected.
- Spinal traction: By extending the back, spinal traction works to alleviate pain caused by muscle tightness or compressed nerves. The physical therapist can achieve that manually by using their own body or mechanically with unique machines. Particularly in case your nerve has been pinched by the foramen, the place where the nerve exits the spinal canal, traction may strive. By stretching the spine to readjust the vertebrae, it is believed to help widen the foramen and improve symptoms of DDD.
Active Physical Therapy for DDD
In the active portion of physical therapy, your therapist is going to educate you on various exercises to improve your flexibility, strength, core stability, and range of motion, or how readily your joints move. Your physical therapy program is individualized, taking into consideration history and your well-being. Your exercises might not be acceptable for another individual with degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease, or DDD, may not entirely “go away” once the individual’s discs have begun to degenerate. You can’t reverse the process and because of that, your physical therapist will help you learn how to work with it and how to limit the pain. You’ll understand body mechanics and how to avoid situations that can aggravate pain and other symptoms.
The specialist will also show you how to correct your posture and integrate ergonomic principles into your daily activities if needed. This is all part of the “self-care” or “self-treatment” aspect of physical therapy: Through physical therapy, you learn good habits and principles that allow you to take better care of the body.
Your physical therapist could also propose a personalized exercise program for you personally. The goals may include: strengthening abdominal and back muscles, increasing muscle endurance (so that your more powerful muscles can work harder longer), and getting your body to carry your weight more proficiently. An exercise program comes with a different bonus—it can assist you to drop some weight. Extra weight can exacerbate pain so your physical therapist can work along with one to establish goals and after that follow through, if you need certainly to lose excess weight.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Whole Body Wellness
Maintaining overall health and wellness through a balanced nutrition, regular physical activity and proper sleep is essential for your whole body’s well-being. While these are some of the most important contributing factors for staying healthy, seeking care and preventing injuries or the development of conditions through natural alternatives can also guarantee overall health and wellness. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment option utilized by many individuals to ensure whole body wellness.
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