Degenerative disc disease is wear and tear on the discs between the bones of the spine that occurs as we age or due to overuse or injury. The pain associated with degenerative disc disease can be anywhere from continuous mild throbbing to intense pain and radiate from anywhere along the spine.
Common degenerative disc disease treatments may include medication or even surgery for advanced cases. However, there are many ways to reduce the severity of degenerative disc disease and prevent further disc damage naturally.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
One of the primary causes of the pain associated with degenerative disc disease is inflammation. Studies suggest that a poor diet can contribute to inflammation and activate enzymes that can damage the proteins that maintain the tissue of the spinal discs.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help to prevent inflammation and avoid further damage to your discs. These types of foods contain high levels of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that support immune function, reduce pain and assist with tissue regeneration.
Include fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors for a more diverse range of nutrients; wild fish, free-range poultry and dairy, and pasture-raised meat for higher levels of omega fatty acids and vitamin D; healthy fats such as coconut oil and nuts and seeds; whole grains and legumes which you can try sprouting for easier digestion and absorption of nutrients; and bone broth for added collagen.
2. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Overweight and obese individuals are at a greater risk of damaging their spinal discs due to carrying excess weight and weakening of the core muscles. Reducing your body mass by even 10% can have significant health benefits including as a degenerative disc disease treatment.
However, do not attempt to lose the weight too quickly or through fad dieting. Maintaining a healthy body weight should be a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Excessive exercise and malnourishment can be just as detrimental to your spinal discs as being overweight. So, make small changes to your diet and increase your activity levels slowly and not too far beyond your comfort level until you reach a healthy goal weight.
3. Improve Your Posture
Slouching while walking or seated can cause strain and compression on the spinal discs and weaken the muscle in the core and along the spine. Retraining your body to correct your posture takes time, but there are some simple ways that you can achieve better posture and relieve your degenerative disc disease.
Be mindful of how you sit or stand. Tighten the abdominal muscles and buttocks, ensuring that your knees are above your hips when sitting and your knees are not locked while standing.
Exercise such as swimming and yoga can also help to improve snail flexibility while relieving the stress on your discs and helping to align your spine and hips for better posture.
4. Alternative Healthcare Treatments
While there are many pharmaceutical options for pain relief and inflammation, they can often have negative side effects. Some natural alternatives include herbal degenerative disc remedies and treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be especially beneficial to patients with degenerative dis disease as they treat the patient rather than just the site of the pain. This holistic approach may include manual adjustments, massage, and nutritional counseling.