Yesterday, I shared with you what DDD is and its role in sciatica pain. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here are the major details: DDD (degenerative disc disease) is a normal process of aging like wrinkles; there is a loss of water content/fluidity/disc height; these changes can alter the mechanics of the spine resulting in pain; not all DDD causes pain.
What if you have DDD? How can we manage it? If you google this term and exercises, you may notice that they may not be significantly different from how to manage generalized low back pain. Stretching (primarily the hamstrings and piriformis), strengthening (core strength), and physical therapy. Most articles don’t share much detail on what else is found in those strategies. But today, I’ll share with you three big actions that I use with DDD (if that is the source of pain).
Spinal decompression– Research shows that spinal decompression is a safe and effective option to address this issue. The idea is that the elongation of the spine results in what is called “hydrostatic pressure” to pull water back into the disc itself (very similar to what it’s like when waking up in the morning). Here are two posts (1) and (2) on how I like to complete the activity. Another way to decompress the spine is to lay down on your back or stomach (whichever position feels the most comfortable for you).
Movement is medicine– Gentle motion is theorized to increase blood flow. Improved blood flow results in increased fluid in the disc. How can this be possible if one of the reasons that DDD occurs is excessive motion? Great question. When in pain, we are incentivized to not move. Interestingly enough, a simple walk down the street, or up the stairs is a great way to improve blood flow to the whole body, which can reduce inflammation, stress, and sometimes pain. Aim for a collective hour of movement per day.
Find positions that make you feel the best– This means that what ever positions/exercises/stretches that make your pain reduce in intensity, size, or even centralizes (moves the pain up towards your spine), you should pursue to replicate that as often as needed. This is a sign that your body needs that specific movement or position. Your body will tell you exactly what it needs so that you can recover. Give it an opportunity to speak to you and listen. I know that this can be a super abstract way to think about things, but you are the biggest driver of your recovery.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you things to avoid when dealing with DDD.
Did you RSVP to the free webinar for next week? Come celebrate my 35th birthday by joining us on February 15th at 7am PST for a webinar on how to manage your pain on your own. I’ll go over some key strategies that you may have missed in the previous posts.
If you need more help trying to figure out how you can maximize your recovery, you can book a free strategy call here.