Disc desiccation is a health problem that affects many, yet many are unaware of the issue. But if it left unattended, it can lead to a host of other issues. Let’s look at what disc desiccation is and why it is important. We’ll discuss what treatments options are available to those affected by it.
An Overview of Disc Desiccation
The vertebral discs in the spine are filled with fluid. This fluid keeps them flexible and strong, acting as cushions when you turn or pick up a load. As we age, these discs begin to lose fluid, albeit slowly unless one of the discs ruptures due to an injury. This drying or dehydration of the discs is called disc desiccation.
Symptoms of Disc Desiccation
One of the first symptoms of disc desiccation is stiffness as you lose flexibility and the muscles start to stiffen and strain. As the discs “desiccate”, the discs become narrower, losing their ability to absorb as much weight, the full shock of your footsteps, or the vertebrae touch, causing pinched nerves and even pain.
You may feel pain in the back, though weakness and tingling as nerves are pinched may also occur. If the lower discs are desiccated, you could feel numbness in both the lower back and your legs because the sciatic nerve is pinched. In this case, the pain or numbness could travel from the back down one or both legs. You need to be seen by a chiropractor or other medical professional for a proper diagnosis.
The Causes of Disc Desiccation
Age is a major factor, though it can be accelerated by wear and tear on your spine from heavy manual labor or incorrect lifting techniques. Disc desiccation could be caused by a fall, car accident, or sports injury. When injury damages the nutrient supply network for the vertebrae cushions, they may stop refilling with fluid at the same rate it drains.
Sudden weight loss can trigger it since sudden weight loss causes the body to lose fluids. This is why some people who go on a liquid diet to lose weight to reduce wear and tear on their knees suddenly start to feel back pains.
Treatments for Disc Desiccation
Treatments for disc desiccation range from treatment management to aggressive attempts to halt and reverse it. Medications for the pain that doctors may prescribe are only a temporary solution to the pain, not an actual treatment for the condition.
Massage therapy and physiotherapy are common recommendations. Exercise to strengthen core muscles so you don’t use your back muscles so much can help. Steady, controlled weight loss will be recommended to reduce the load on your back. Chiropractic care is a common treatment for disc desiccation. Surgery is a last resort. Treatments like fusing vertebrae are painful and limit your range of motion for the rest of your life. You can learn more about the various treatments at Echiro Practor.
Disc desiccation is a common cause of reduced flexibility and increased back pain with age, and should be treated as soon as you’re experiencing symptoms. If you think you may be dealing with disc desiccation, consult a professional immediately to prevent worsening of the condition and avoid back surgery.