Degenerative Disc Disease: Is it really a diagnosis?
Posted Jun 02 2009 4:32pm
San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:
There is an ongoing debate about whether or not Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) should really be considered a valid diagnosis for back pain. In fact...many top spine centers no longer use the DDD diagnosis.
When you consider that it is impossible to determine if the DDD is causing the back pain or not...this makes sense.
In my opinion, when lifestyle components such as diet, sleep, exercise, stress, spinal alignment, posture, etc., are out of balance, it creates fertile soil for degenerative conditions to develop...including degenerative disc disease.
If you toss in drugs, alcohol, and tobacco...well, it' s just like throwing gasoline on the fire. And the secondary effects of an unhealthy lifestyle such as obesity, can cause abnormal wear and tear on the spinal joints, contributing to DDD.
And of course previous injuries (including micro-traumas) predispose the spine to DDD.
This is why using DDD as a primary diagnosis for back or neck pain is not saying much.
The trend (based on research) is toward restoring function and lifestyle modification. All back pain programs should include exercise and lifestyle assessment.