What is DDD?
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that occurs over time because of wear and tear. Disc disease can occur anywhere in the spine, but is most common in the cervical and lumbar spine (the 2 areas of the spine where we have a lordotic curve). Degenerative disc disease involves a compression or flattening of the disc that results in increased stress on the joints and nerve roots that exit out of each vertebral segment. This results in increased pain, stiffness, and discomfort.
Signs and symptoms of DDD:
If you have DDD, generally pain and stiffness occurs with sitting or standing in one position for greater than 30 min at a time. Pain is usually alleviated with walking and stretching. The reason that pain increases with a prolonged period of time in one position is because the disc will dehydrate as you sustain constant force on it (prolonged standing and sitting) causing joint space to decrease and pain to set in. As we walk and move around new fluid is forced into the joints and the disc rehydrates creating more space and decompression.
Causes of DDD:
Degenerative disk disease is most commonly seen in individuals that spend a prolonged period of time in positions of poor posture. This includes people that work desk jobs. Other causes of DDD are individuals that perform repetitive higher impact activity that wear down certain levels in the spine.
What can I do to Help??
Spinal stability and mobility are the key to maintaining spine health. To alleviate pain stretching and mobilization is important, but also building strength through your glutes, core, postural stab, and deep cervical flexors so that the spine can stay supported with proper posture during sitting, standing, and walking.