Degenerative disc disease or DDD is a change that occurs in the spinal discs. It’s not actually a disease but a condition that happens as you age. Everyone is at risk of developing degenerative disc disease, although there are risk factors that make some people at greater risk of developing DDD.
Degenerative disc aren’t easy to live with. Here are 3 things you can do to control your degenerative disc disease.
#1 Modify Your Day-to-Day Activities That Cause Low Back Stress
The best way to stop or slow your degenerative disc disease is to stop behavior that’s destructive and throughout your day, if you pay attention, there are many opportunities where you can modify your action so as not to negatively impact degenerative disc disease.
• Correct your posture and use low back support. DDD is often more painful when you are sitting, especially when you are slumped forward, because this puts more pressure on your lower back. Try using an ergonomic chair that supports the lower back and the natural curve in the lumbar area.
• Make sure to lift heavy objects correctly. Lean over to pick the item up. Don’t twist your back. Lift with your legs using your quadriceps muscles.
• Change your position frequently to increase blood flow and relieve stress. Just walking 20 steps every 30 minutes can prevent stiffness of your lower back from sitting.
• Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress. This can make all the difference between waking up stiff and sore and refreshed. Take the time to choose a mattress so that you find the most comfortable one.
#2 Slow the Disc Degeneration by Remaining Active
Once your pain management doctor has your pain under control, the most important thing you can do is to remain active. Exercise preserves whatever functionality exists and is actually the best way to heal your back. Exercise improves the blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to your back and your discs. This helps to keep them more pliable. When you exercise, it can also help you to achieve a sense of well being as it releases endorphins, which are a natural stress reducer and pain reliever.
To remain active really doesn’t require you to be too creative, but it will require you to do a little planning. Remember to not overdo it, as too much exercise is not going to benefit you!
• Your 30 minutes of exercise should alternate between low impact exercises (i.e. swimming, walking, biking, etc.) and strength training. Doing this daily can help to maintain mobility and flexibility, as well as control your weight.
• Every morning do 5 minutes of stretches. Repeat at bedtime.
• It would pay to spend a couple of hours with a physical therapist who can guide and instruct you in which exercises are best for you.
#3 Improve Your Nutrition
Nutrition is always important, and making healthy food choices can help your body in general. What’s most important is to make sure that your discs are well hydrated and you can do this by drinking water all through the day. While you don’t have to eliminate caffeinated drinks (i.e. coffee, soda, tea, etc.) you should reduce the amount of them you drink as they can cause you to be dehydrated. Limit alcohol as it also dehydrates.