Causes for Disc Desiccation
Disc desiccation can occur due to various reasons. The primary cause of disc desiccation is wear and tear on our discs. This is medically referred to as the degenerative process. It is a natural process occurring as we age. Typically, patients diagnosed with disc desiccation through the degenerative process are between the ages of 40 - 50 years of age. There are patients diagnosed at an earlier age, however those patients are likely performing physical activity that places repetitive strain to an area of the spine or their occupation may be causing strain from repetitive movement.
Other causes of disc desiccation may be from an abrupt strain or injury to the spine.
Most patients demonstrate signs and symptoms of disc desiccation for years prior to seeking medical attention. Over time, these signs and symptoms may worsen or begin to impact the patient’s lifestyle. Loss of sleep, work and physical activity may be affected and it is most often when the patient will meet with their physician for diagnosis as well as treatment options.
Treating Disc Desiccation
Once a patient has met with their physician and provided the medical history, the doctor will perform a physical examination. Based on these findings, should the doctor suspect disc desiccation, additional tests will be administered. X-rays and MRIs will identify the disc(s) affected. Once that has been determined, treatment options can be explored.
Over the counter medication: ibuprofen is effective to relieve pain or discomfort as well as act as an anti-inflammatory.
Weight management: if a patient suffering from disc desiccation is overweight, the doctor will often first recommend that the patient follow a healthy weight management system and under medical guidance, incorporate daily exercise to their routine. By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, less pressure is placed upon the spine, thereby eliminating undue stress to the affected disc and surrounding muscles and tissues. Walking and water aerobics are often recommended as forms of low impact exercise.
Massage therapy: the purpose or outcome of this treatment relieves pressure as well as aiding in providing greater flexibility or range of motion to the affected area. This treatment targets skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments and contributes to the overall sense of well being. Often, patients suffering from disc desiccation experience pain and discomfort throughout the day and in particular during certain activities or sleep. This can have a negative impact on one’s mind or sense of well being.
Chiropractic care: a chiropractor can often alleviate pain and discomfort due to the attention focused on musculoskeletal system and will identify the area of weakness in the spine. This will allow the chiropractor to target the area of pain from the affected disc. Through a series of exercises and manipulation, there is an increase in flexibility and movement as the condition improves.
Surgery: this form of treatment is often reserved for patients who have tried the traditional or conservative treatment listed above. Patients experiencing severe or chronic pain and discomfort will often explore surgery as a means of gaining back their normal lifestyle.
Patients can now choose surgeries that are both traditional and non-conservative. It is recommended that the patient seek at least two medical opinions before deciding whether surgery is the right choice for them. Benefits and risks should be identified before deciding which surgical procedure will be performed to treat their disc desiccation.