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5 Things To Avoid With Degenerative Disc Disease: Expert Advice!

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that affects the discs between the vertebrae in the spine, causing them to deteriorate and lose their cushioning ability ...

by Kendra Reed

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that affects the discs between the vertebrae in the spine, causing them to deteriorate and lose their cushioning ability over time. As these discs degenerate, they become thinner and less effective at absorbing shock, leading to increased pressure on the vertebrae and surrounding nerves.

This can result in significant pain, discomfort, and reduced mobility. Degenerative disc disease is a common issue, particularly among older adults, and it can have a profound impact on one’s quality of life.

In this article, we will discuss five specific things to avoid when dealing with degenerative disc disease to help manage the condition and alleviate symptoms.

5 Things To Avoid With Degenerative Disc Disease

1. Avoid High-Impact Exercises

    High-impact exercises, such as running, jumping, or any activity that involves repetitive jarring motions, should be avoided by individuals with degenerative disc disease.

    These activities can exert excessive force on the spine, further damaging the already deteriorating discs. The impact can cause the discs to compress, bulge, or even rupture, leading to increased pain and discomfort.

    Things To Avoid With Degenerative Disc Disease

    Instead of high-impact exercises, individuals with degenerative disc disease should opt for low-impact activities that are gentler on the spine. Examples include walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine.

    These exercises can help strengthen the core muscles and improve flexibility without putting excessive strain on the discs.

    Read More: Exercises To Avoid For People With Degenerative Disc Disease

    2. Avoid Heavy Lifting and Twisting Motions

      Lifting heavy objects or engaging in activities that involve twisting motions can be detrimental for those with degenerative disc disease. When lifting heavy weights, the discs in the spine are subjected to immense pressure, which can cause them to bulge or rupture.

      Additionally, twisting motions can cause the vertebrae to shift and put strain on the discs, leading to pain and potential injury.

      It is essential to practice proper lifting techniques and avoid excessive bending or twisting, especially when lifting heavy objects. If heavy lifting is unavoidable, individuals should seek assistance or use appropriate lifting aids to minimize the strain on their back.

      3. Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle

        While certain exercises should be avoided, it is equally important to avoid a sedentary lifestyle when dealing with degenerative disc disease. Prolonged sitting or inactivity can lead to muscle weakness, poor posture, and increased pressure on the discs, exacerbating the condition.

        Regular low-impact exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching, can help maintain strength and flexibility in the muscles that support the spine. It is recommended to take frequent breaks from sitting and engage in light physical activity throughout the day.

        Also Read: Low-Impact Exercises For Seniors: Stay Active Safely!

        4. Avoid Inflammatory Foods and Beverages

          Certain foods and beverages can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can worsen the symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease. It is advisable to avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in saturated fats, as these can increase inflammation and contribute to pain and discomfort.

          Instead, focus on consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids). These foods can help reduce inflammation and promote overall spinal health.

          5. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Consumption

            Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two habits that should be avoided by individuals with degenerative disc disease. Smoking can impair the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the discs, hindering their ability to repair and regenerate.

            Additionally, nicotine can constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the discs.

            Excessive alcohol consumption can also negatively impact the discs by dehydrating the body and interfering with the absorption of essential nutrients. Alcohol can also impair balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls and further injury to the spine.

            Things To Focus On

            While there are several things to avoid with degenerative disc disease, there are also certain things that individuals should focus on to help manage the condition and alleviate symptoms.

            Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, as excess weight can put additional strain on the spine and worsen the effects of degenerative disc disease. The added pressure on the discs and vertebrae can accelerate the degeneration process and increase the likelihood of pain and discomfort.

            It is also important to focus on exercises that strengthen the core muscles and improve flexibility, such as yoga or low-impact aerobic exercises. These activities can help support the spine and reduce strain, allowing for better mobility and reduced pain.

            Exercises that target the abdominal and back muscles can help stabilize the spine and take some of the pressure off the discs.

            Additionally, individuals with degenerative disc disease should focus on maintaining good posture. Poor posture can put unnecessary strain on the spine and worsen the condition. Practicing good posture when sitting, standing, and lifting can help alleviate some of the pressure on the discs and reduce the risk of further degeneration.

            Tips To Manage Degenerative Disc Disease

            Managing degenerative disc disease requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments. Regular physical therapy sessions can be incredibly beneficial, as they can help strengthen the muscles around the spine and improve mobility.

            Physical therapists can also provide guidance on proper exercise techniques and recommend specific exercises tailored to an individual’s needs.

            In addition to physical therapy, it is important to discuss treatment options with a healthcare professional, such as medication, spinal injections, or in some cases, surgery, to find the most effective approach for managing the condition.

            Medications like over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with degenerative disc disease.

            Spinal injections, such as epidural steroid injections, can also provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. These injections deliver a corticosteroid medication directly into the affected area of the spine, helping to reduce swelling and alleviate pressure on the nerves.

            In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to alleviate the symptoms of degenerative disc disease. Procedures like spinal fusion or disc replacement surgery can help stabilize the spine and reduce the pressure on the discs and nerves.

            However, these surgical options are typically reserved for cases where non-surgical treatments have been ineffective and the pain or disability is severe.

            Conclusion

            Degenerative disc disease can be a challenging condition to live with, but by avoiding certain exercises, foods, and drinks, and focusing on a healthy lifestyle and appropriate medical treatments, it is possible to alleviate symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

            It is crucial to seek professional advice and make necessary lifestyle changes to effectively manage degenerative disc disease and reduce the impact it has on daily activities.

            By avoiding high-impact exercises, heavy lifting, and twisting motions, individuals can prevent further damage to the discs and reduce the risk of worsening symptoms.

            Additionally, maintaining a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding processed, sugary, and high-fat foods can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with the condition.

            Focusing on maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and engaging in low-impact exercises that strengthen the core muscles and improve flexibility can also play a vital role in managing degenerative disc disease.

            Regular physical therapy sessions and open communication with healthcare professionals can help individuals find the most effective treatment plan, whether it involves medication, injections, or surgery.

            By being proactive and making informed choices, individuals can take control of their condition and find relief from the pain and discomfort associated with this common spinal issue. With the right approach and a commitment to lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage degenerative disc disease and maintain a high quality of life.

            References

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