Degenerative Disc Disease treatment
If you’re suffering from degenerative disc disease, it’s important to receive a skilled assessment and diagnosis by an experienced osteopath. Although it is not possible to undo the wear and tear on the disc it is entirely possible to relax the surrounding muscles to break the pain-spasm-pain cycle as well as changing the abnormal loading on the disc to reduce the sensitivity of the self-protective mechanism and prevent painful episodes.
If you have had your symptoms for less than 3 months
Osteopathic treatment is aimed at releasing the strains and stresses that have accumulated in the body over many years. It also acts to improve the blood flow to all parts of the body and can promote muscle relaxation. This not only reduces the pain and stiffness but also decreases compression strains acting on the disc, potentially slowing any further degeneration considerably. However, it does take some time and often requires between 4-6 treatments to get rid of the pain – and longer to allow the strain to be kept away from the degenerative disc.
This treatment is very gentle and, along with lifestyle and exercise advice, outcomes are usually very good. Patients are seldom disappointed as they are shown that suffering pain, stiffness and poor health are NOT an inevitable part of getting older and many people in retirement could and should be able to resume an active lifestyle.
Medication prescribed by your GP can often help with the acute pain, but can have quite nasty side effects and can be addictive. Also, medication only addresses your symptoms and will do nothing about the underlying injury process, meaning that there is a risk of this recurring again if not managed with appropriate treatment and advice.
If you have had your symptoms for more than 3 months
If your symptoms have persisted for longer than 3-6 months it is unlikely that osteopathy will be able to help, especially if you have already tried this or some other form of manual therapy. Surgery is not usually advised for this condition.
Your GP will probably refer you for a steroid injection for which you may have to wait quite a long time. In addition, steroid injections do not address the underlying condition but just bathe the area with a strong anti-inflammatory to help with the pain. The pain often returns, but if it stays away for 3 months it is less likely to. However, the underlying problem still remains and without some form of rehabilitation there is a large risk of recurrence.
For cases such as these, we have had great success using IDD Therapy spinal decompression.