Degenerative disc disease from osteoarthritis of the back can cause you extreme pain and suffering. There are a few ways whereby you can treat degenerative disc disease. Understanding what degenerative disc disease is, and what you can do, are important steps towards a better quality of life.
The chance of getting degenerative disc disease increases with age. Degenerative disc disease refers to a group of painful back conditions. Other types of diseases that can cause it are spinal stenosis and ankylosing spondylitis. It is usually caused by osteoarthritis of the spine, and it can be quite painful. If you have osteoarthritis of the spine, your pain comes from the vertebra becoming inflamed and irritated because of the compression of the disk. As your spine works to heal itself, small calcium stones are created on the spinal column. You will then experience painful attacks and a lack of mobility of the spinal will occur.
There are several treatment options if you have osteoarthritis of the spine. A popular OTC medication is paracetamol for pain. Codeine can be used in conjunction with paracetamol for added pain relief too. There are other prescription medications that are anti-inflammatory, which reduce pain. Steroids such as prednisone are one, but they cannot be taken on a long-term basis, especially for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. Side effects include bleeding ulcers and severe indigestion.
Steroids can also be taken as injections directly into the back for pain relief from osteoarthritis. A newer treatment in the injection form is using hyaluronic acid. Some medical studies have shown that it may push the body to make other cells that form cartilage in the back. Other studies on hyaluronic injection treatments theorize that it may help with lubrication between the spinal pads of the back. Only your doctor is qualified to tell you if they feel that using hyaluronic treatment may be beneficial for your pain management from osteoarthritis in your back.
It is thought that because osteoarthritis inhibits blood flow to the cartilage and muscles, taking glucosamine and chondroitin helps increase blood flow and maintain a healthier cartilage. These are food supplements that can be bought directly from over the counter. Other types of natural holistic treatments are taking avocado and soybeans, in either a pill form, or adding this to your diet in elevated concentrations. A few medical studies have shown that people who did add this to their diet experienced less pain, and not quite as much dependence on painkillers. Talk with your doctor if you feel that it may help with your painful osteoarthritis episodes.
Exercise is another good way to control pain and help with movement. Also, make sure that you control your weight too. Excess weight causes pressure on the back, and increases pain in the back.
Non-traditional therapies for degenerative disc disease caused by osteoarthritis are acupuncture and deep body massages. Acupuncture is believed to inhibit the body’s pain receptors in the brain, and it thereby makes it easier for you to cope with the pain. Deep body messages relax tense muscles, and it can stress from pain. Many people have found relief from pain by using these two techniques for pain management by either using them independently, or in conjunction with each other. It is also thought that with acupuncture and deep body messages that pain fighting hormones are released into the body to dull the sensation of pain.
An excellent home remedy is to use a heat on the painful area. You may find that a moist heat is the best, but always use safety when applying heat from a heating pad for your back. Do not leave the heat on it for more than 30 minutes, and let your skin cool down. You do not want blisters. You can reapply heat as needed throughout the day, but make sure to rest between cool downs. If you don’t muscle spasms can occur, and it will delay your healing time. If you can take aspirin for your pain because it is an anti-inflammatory, but remember it’s also a blood thinner, and aspirin will raise blood pressure.
It can be depressing to be inflicted with degenerative disc disease. The best that you can do is try out a combination of methods to help you relieve yourself from pain. Hopefully one day there will be an effective and safe cure for your back.