Degenerative disc disease is a condition most commonly seen in obese patients, patients who drink less water, chronic tobacco chewer, chronic smoker, chronic alcoholic and patient who do not do exercise on daily basis. The diagnosis of this condition is the diagnosis of exclusion, by excluding pathologies like spinal canal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, disc prolapsed, fracture, infection etc.
There are no specific symptoms of this condition. The diagnosis requires compilation of findings consistent with degenerative disc disease and elimination of other causes of pain. Patients presenting with this condition are usually young in a third to the sixth decade. The pain is chronic which is present for several years which may vary in intensity. The pain is usually in the low back which might radiate to low back. Activities and position which increase the intradiscal pressure increase pain while recumbency decreases pain. On examination, there is no weakness. The lumbar flexion might be restricted.
Conservative: The treatment of this condition is most commonly nonoperative. The most important aspect in the treatment of this condition is understanding of the patient about the disease process. The conservative management consists of a short period of rest to reduce the inflammatory process. This is followed by lifestyle modification, aerobic conditioning like walking, core muscle exercise. Exercise helps in strengthening of the muscles surrounding the spine which provides better stability and support to the spinal column. Lifestyle modifications such as quitting tobacco chewing, smoking cigarette and alcohol is also very important.
Surgical: Patients presenting with consistent symptoms or debilitating pain might benefit from surgery. Surgical treatment varies as per the patient. The surgery for degenerative disc disease may vary from the removal of disc or removal of the disc and fuse the bone adjacent to disc to decrease the pain.
How to prevent Degenerative disc disease:
We at Shanta spine institute believes in prevention is better than cure, so we keep our main emphasis on prevention of the disease more than the treatment. The main cause of degenerative disc disease is aging process and unhealthy lifestyle. So we aim to prevent the disease by certain lifestyle modifications which had to be followed regularly. This includes daily 1 hour of exercise, healthy diet which includes lots of fruits and salads, 4-5 litres of water daily and to maintain weight which is normal according to your height and age. The exercise program like swimming, yoga, walking jogging etc helps to develop core strength and allows us to maintain strength and flexibility of the spine. Lifestyle modifications such as quitting tobacco chewing, smoking cigarette and alcohol is also very important.
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- Vivek Madhukar Puradbhat
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