All that wisdom you get over the years can come at the cost of a few pains and discomforts as your body ages and the degenerative disc of a lifetime of daily and random activities also affects the spine and falls into the category of degenerative disc disease. Your vertebral discs deteriorate with age. Spinal discs are compressible soft discs that separate the bones that make up the spine. They allow the spine to bend, flex and twist, and act as buffers. Degenerative disc disease can occur throughout the spine, but usually occurs in the discs of the neck and lower back. People who do heavy physical work, smoke or are obese are more likely to experience degeneration of their spinal discs. An injury that causes a herniated disc can also start the degeneration process.
Although this process affects everyone, it is only detected when painful symptoms appear. This can be chronic pain in the lower back, which can then radiate to the hips. Or it may appear as pain in your thighs or buttocks while walking. The pain may get worse when you reach out, bend over or twist. Constant neck pain that can radiate to the arms and shoulders can also be a symptom. A weakness or tingling in the knees is also common.1 Changes in your spinal discs can also lead to osteoarthritis, where the tissue that cushions and protects your joints breaks down; disc herniation, where a spinal disc breaks or protrudes abnormally; or spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal that supports your spinal cord narrows.
The doctor may prescribe medications to address the symptoms of this condition. For example, if you experience pain, you can be given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain relievers to relieve it. In some cases, surgical treatments such as removing a damaged disc may be recommended. But you can also control pain and other discomfort with some natural treatments and techniques.
1. Apply Hot or Cold Packs to Relieve Pain:
The application of hot or cold packs can relieve pain related to degenerative disc disease. Hot compresses or thermal pads can relieve areas that hurt and relax muscles. You can also try showers or hot baths. Treating the area with a cold compress may produce an anesthetic effect that relieves pain. However, wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying it – applying ice directly to your skin could cause an ice burn. Try cold and hot treatments to see what works best for you.
2. Correct Your Posture:
Poor posture can stress your spinal discs and cause joint compression and muscle fatigue. Learning healthier ways of sitting, standing, lifting, and sleeping can help relieve back pain. Follow these tips for good posture:
While sitting: The upper back should be straight and shoulders relaxed. Stretching the buttocks and stomach will help keep the abdomen muscles stretched while maintaining the natural curvature of the lower back. You can also use a small cushion behind the lower back to help you do this. Make sure your knees are slightly above your hips and keep your feet flat on the floor. Use a foot stool if necessary.
Standing: Keep your weight balanced equally on both feet and do not block your knees. If you need to stand for long periods, be sure to wear low heels.
While sleeping: Lying on your side with your knees bent can help with pain in your lower back. Placing a pillow between your knees can also make you feel more comfortable. Also, remember to use a firm mattress.
When lifting objects: You also need to maintain good posture while on the move. So when you lift something, keep it close to your body and lift it using your legs. This means that you maintain the normal curves of your back and the load is lifted by your legs. Also, when you bend over to lift something, you should bend your knees instead of your back. Then, all you need to do to lift the object is to stretch your legs.
3. Lose Weight if you are Overweight:
“The extra pounds can increase tension and pressure on the stomach and back muscles, causing them to weaken”.
This makes it difficult for them to hold their backs and even causes them to lose their posture. And some joints and muscles end up having to do all the work, stressing them out. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce stress on the vertebral discs.
Even if weight control is not a problem, exercise is important to keep your back strong. Your physical therapist can help strengthen and stretch the right muscles to help you heal your back. A good exercise session can include a warm-up, aerobic exercises and exercises that work with certain muscle groups such as the abdominal muscles and the lower back.
5. Practice Yoga:
The yoga, an ancient discipline that originated in India, including practices such as breathing, use of body postures and meditation. One study compared the development of degenerative disc disease in the spine of people who had practiced yoga for a long time with those who did not practice yoga. And MRI found that long-term yoga practitioners had significantly less degenerative disc diseases than the control group. An experienced yoga practitioner will guide you through an appropriate regimen. The asanas you should incorporate include adho mukha svanasana or downward dog pose, balasana or child pose, and marjarasanaor cat pose. Take out your yoga mat and keep your spine happy!
6. Consume Fish Oil:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to address back and neck pain. But fish oil can be a natural alternative to this. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects. One study found that when people with neck or back pain took omega 3 fatty acids, 59% of them discontinued the prescribed NSAID to relieve pain. Studies have also found that omega 3 fatty acids are comparable to common ibuprofen for pain relief. Fatty fish such as tuna, sardine, mackerel and salmon naturally contain omega 3 fatty acids.
7. Take Boswellia:
It is known that Indian frankincense resin or Boswellia serrata reduces inflammation and relieves pain. It is believed that the boswellic acids present in it confer these beneficial properties. Research indicates that it is useful for people with osteoarthritis, a condition that can develop as a complication of degenerative disc disease. Not only can it improve pain and function, but it can also slow cartilage damage. Standardized extracts of boswellia containing 150 mg of boswellic acids are recommended three times a day for approximately 8 weeks. You might find this remedy useful if you are suffering from degenerative disc disease as well.
8. Drink Ginger Tea:
The ginger is famous for its anti – inflammatory properties. One study found that patients with osteoarthritis experienced significant pain relief, as well as a reduction in an index that observed their symptoms. Soak the powdered ginger or freshly grated ginger in boiling water to make a cup of analgesic ginger tea and drink it 2-3 times a day.
9. Include Turmeric in Your Diet:
Another herb known for its anti-inflammatory properties is turmeric. It has also been found to be useful for people with osteoarthritis. In fact, one study found that it was comparable to ibuprofen to provide pain relief. It is believed that a compound known as curcumin present in turmeric is responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. Add this beneficial spice to your daily kitchen. You can also prepare a medicinal turmeric tea by soaking a little turmeric powder in boiling water. Sweeten with honey and drink a few times a day.
10. Try Acupuncture:
It has been discovered that acupuncture, a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine, is useful for treating back pain associated with degenerative disc disease. According to ancient Chinese wisdom, life force flows throughout the body along paths known as meridians. Any imbalance or obstruction in the flow of this energy can cause disease. And the practice of acupuncture corrects the imbalances by inserting fine needles into specific points of the body known as acupuncture points. Be sure to consult a certified professional to guide you through the treatment.