Preventing and Slowing the Progression of Degenerative Disc Disease

If someone told you that your daily routine could affect the health of your spine, would you believe them? It might sound far-fetched, but it’s true. Our lifestyle choices can influence the health of our spinal discs, potentially leading to a condition known as degenerative disc disease. But here’s the good news – you have the power to make a positive change.

Degenerative disc disease, despite its name, is not exactly a disease. It’s a condition where the cushiony discs between our vertebrae wear down over time. While age is a significant factor, other factors like our daily habits, diet, and physical activity levels also come into play.

So, how can we prevent or slow down this degeneration? Here are some simple, practical steps we can incorporate into our lives:

1. Stand up, move around

A sedentary lifestyle is a prominent contributor to disc degeneration. Staying seated for extended periods puts excessive pressure on your spine, leading to disc wear and tear. Try to incorporate more movement into your day. A brisk walk during lunch, standing while making phone calls, or even getting up to refill your water bottle every hour can all contribute to spinal health.

2. Embrace exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for overall health, including your spinal health. Strength-building exercises, especially those targeting your core, can help support your spine, while flexibility exercises can help maintain disc health. Try Pilates, yoga, swimming, or just regular walking. Remember, the key is consistency.

3. Choose a nutritious diet

Your diet plays a significant role in disc health. Ensure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D, critical for bone health, from foods like dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fish. A well-balanced diet not only keeps your discs healthy but also helps maintain a healthy weight, reducing the stress on your spine.

4. Hydrate!

Water is crucial for disc health. Discs are mostly water, and they need adequate hydration to maintain their structure and function. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily to support disc health.

5. Stub out the smokes

If you smoke, here’s one more reason to quit: smoking accelerates disc degeneration. The chemicals in cigarettes can restrict blood flow to the discs, limiting their nutrient supply and hastening their breakdown. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your spinal health.

6. Practice good posture

Bad posture, like hunching over your computer or slouching on the couch, puts additional stress on your spine and can speed up disc degeneration. Be mindful of your posture, especially when sitting for long periods. Consider ergonomic furniture and take regular breaks to stretch.

7. Seek regular check-ups

Early detection can significantly help manage degenerative disc disease. Regular check-ups allow your doctor to monitor your spinal health and provide guidance on preventive measures.

Now, while these steps can reduce the risk of developing degenerative disc disease, it’s important to remember that they’re not a guaranteed shield. Age and genetics also play a role in this condition, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, disc degeneration might still occur.

But don’t be disheartened! Even if you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, don’t worry many potential treatments are being researched and developed to help with this disease. For example, DiscGenics is a biotechnology company at the forefront of spinal treatment research, especially concerning degenerative disc disease. They are developing an innovative, potentially game-changing treatment known as Injectable Disc Cell Therapy (IDCT). This therapy uses specialized cells, called Discogenic Cells, which are injected into the patient’s affected disc to stimulate repair and regeneration. While still undergoing rigorous testing and clinical trials, IDCT represents a promising advancement in the treatment of degenerative disc disease, offering hope for a non-surgical, regenerative solution.

Taking care of our spinal health might not be something we think about every day, but it’s crucial for our well-being. Remember, every step you take towards a healthier lifestyle is a step towards a happier pain-free life.