Degenerative Disc Disease

Over time, changes can happen to the discs in your spine that can lead to degeneration. Trauma, poor posture and movement, as well as general wear and tear can all cause the discs to degenerate. With degenerative disc disease (DDD) the discs begin to narrow from loss of water content. The fibres of the disc can tear, allowing disc fluid to bulge or protrude. As the discs lose their ability to absorb shock, the spinal vertebrae will then create more bony projections, called osteophytes.

This condition can happen anywhere along the spine, but is most common in the neck (cervical region) or lower back (lumbar region). Depending on where it is, the disc degeneration can cause nerves to become compressed. This can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the back, neck, or that can travel into the arms or legs. In some cases damaged discs can weaken muscles and affect your balance and ability to walk. Degenerative Disc Disease can also lead to the development of other conditions, such as Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis or Spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

The severity of DDD can vary hugely person to person. Here are the most common symptoms:

  1. Back or Neck Pain
  2. General Stiffness
  3. Numbness, tingling or weakness into the arms or legs
  4. Sciatica
  5. Pain caused by a certain activity: for example bending or lifting
  6. If Degenerative Disc Disease affects the lower back, sitting or standing for a long time may make the pain worse. However activities like swimming or gentle exercise may help to ease the pain

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

Through the right treatment and rehabilitation, good results can be achieved depending on how severe the degeneration is. A combination of shockwave and spinal decompression therapies can be highly effective. If the degeneration is severe or there is slow healing in the area, laser therapy may reduce sensitivity and accelerate healing.

  1. Spinal Decompression therapy uses a low percentage of your body weight to gently stretch the spine, relieving pressure on the disc and allow healing to take place.
  2. By reducing the pressure on the spine, the discs receive hydration and vital nutrients allowing them to heal the cellular damage.
  3. Shockwave therapy helps overall healing in the body by increasing the amount of blood flow into the body's tissues.
  4. Shockwave can also improve the movement and flexibility in the spine, which can relieve any stiffness and misalignments in the body.

Frequent Questions

What is degenerative disc disease?

What causes degenerative disc disease?

What is the best treatment for degenerative disc disease?

Does degenerative disc disease get worse?

Can degenerative disc disease be cured?

What are the best exercises for degenerative disc disease?

“My pain levels have reduced and I’m more flexible.”

Cecil Nelson

13th July 2016

“I have more confidence in my overall movement”

Andy Smart

8th March 2017

“I was shocked at the difference after my first session.”

Debbie Gore

16th June 2016


If you have any questions about degenerative disc disease call our clinics in London (Victoria & Surbiton) or send us a message via the website.

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