When you reach your 20s and 30s, your spine is at its peak health. After that, your spine starts to show signs of aging and does so for the remainder of your life.
While some people don’t experience noticeable symptoms of an aging spine, others may be much more aware of it, perhaps with debilitating pain in their back and legs.
Pain that comes from an aging spine is known as degenerative disc disease. Our team at LA Pain Doctor has experts in pain management, and we’re here to discuss how degenerative disc disease occurs and what to do if you find yourself suffering from it.
Explaining degenerative disc disease
Your spinal column is made up of bones (vertebrae) and rubbery spinal discs, which cushion the space in between each vertebrae. The spinal discs absorb any shock and protect your spine as you move, bend, and twist.
Over time, these spinal discs naturally start to lose some of their cushion. They may also start to lose water and dry out, and develop tiny cracks as well. As that cushion wanes, your bones rub up against each other and can even slip out of place.
This can cause the pain of degenerative disc disease and other conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs.
Prevention of degenerative disc disease
While you can’t stop your spine from aging, you can make some lifestyle changes to keep it as healthy as possible.
If you smoke on a regular basis, kick that habit. Tobacco use has a negative impact on the health of your spine, and it’s going to counteract any type of treatment for degenerative disc disease.
A healthy diet and regular physical activity are keys to strengthening your spine. Try to eat a diet filled with nutrients in the form of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Also, do a variety of exercises for about 30 minutes a day. You can try aerobics, strength training, or even yoga.
To keep excess strain off of your spine, make sure to maintain a healthy weight, practice good posture, and wear supportive footwear.
What to do when you have degenerative disc disease
While lifestyle changes are a great place to start when it comes to prevention and early treatment of degenerative disc disease, the condition may still progress and become extremely painful.
If this happens to you, our team would love to discuss treatment options with you. This may include certain medications or even surgery if conservative treatments or medications don’t do the trick.
To learn more about how to preserve the health of your aging spine, contact our team with any questions you may have. Give us a call or set up an appointment online at one of our five offices in the New Orleans area today.