Getting to Grips with Degenerative Disc Disease

So, What’s the Deal with Degenerative Disc Disease?

Think of it like this: our spinal discs are like car tyres that use water instead of air. As we age, they start losing this ‘water’, becoming dehydrated and flatter, which leads to wear and tear. It’s this process that causes the discs to bulge, lose height, and potentially irritate sensitive spinal nerves see the spinal joints rub against each other. Not ideal, right?

Is This a Common Thing?

Absolutely. After hitting 40, most of us will see some level of disc degeneration. But here’s the good news – it only causes back pain in about 5% of us.

Who’s at Risk?

Mainly older adults, with a slight edge towards women. But lifestyle choices matter too! Things like poor posture, not being active, bad habits, past injury, carrying extra weight, smoking, or a job that’s tough on your back can up your risk.

The Nitty-Gritty: Symptoms

Look out for:

  • Sciatica or persistent lower back pain
  • Pain shooting to the arm, especially if it’s your neck that’s affected
  • That worrying tingling, numbness, or weakness in your limbs
  • Muscle tension and spasms
  • Sharp pains, especially when sitting or standing

How Do We Figure It Out?

An accurate medical history and a great physical examination usually do the trick. But, if we need a little more help, we might recommend an MRI to see what’s really going on.

Handling DDD at Our Clinic

We can’t turn back the clock on those discs, but we can do a lot to ease the pain, improve disc hydration and get things moving more smoothly again. For recent symptoms, osteopathic treatment can work wonders.

Dealing with this for over 3-6 months? IDD Therapy could be your golden ticket.

Can You Dodge Degenerative Disc Disease?

Sort of. Staying active, keeping a healthy weight, and ditching the cigarettes can all help keep your discs well hydrated and your spine in better shape for longer.

Your Top Tip for Managing DDD: Simple Yet Effective Exercises

If I could give you just one powerful self-help strategy for DDD, it would be this (I know, there’s a theme running through all my emails!):

Keep your back mobile with All 4s Rocking

How to Do It:

Start on your hands and knees in an all 4s position. Gently look up towards the ceiling and then rock back to get your backside onto your heels whilst letting your spine roll into a ball to get your chin into your chest.
Repetitions: Begin with 6, build to 10-12 over weeks. Do this 3-4 times daily. No pain should be felt and it should be smooth and effortless

Improving your sitting posture by:

  • Sitting back on your pelvis
  • Having adequate lumbar support (no space between spine and back of chair)
  • Relaxing back into chair (so that you would fall off if the chair back was not there)
  • Getting up every 20-30 mins

What About Other Spinal Issues?

Unfortunately, DDD can set the stage for other conditions like osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis, so, keeping an eye on it matters.

IDD Therapy: Our Secret Weapon

We’ve been using IDD Therapy for over a decade, and it’s a game-changer for those facing the daunting prospect of surgery or other heavy-duty treatments.

So there you have it – everything you need to know about DDD.

If you’ve got concerns or symptoms just give us a shout.

We’re all about getting you back to your best.


Steve Morris is a highly experienced Osteopath with over three decades of hands-on experience. As one of the pioneering figures to introduce IDD Therapy in the UK back in 2010, Steve has not only established himself as a leading authority in the non-surgical treatment of disc conditions, but he’s also recognised as one of the country’s foremost experts in mechanical decompression through IDD Therapy.

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