Degenerative changes are a natural part of the aging process, and are medically not defined as a disease. Degenerative disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs and joints as you age. Degenerative Disc Disease and Degenerative Joint Disease are common diagnosis treated by a physical therapist.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
DDD is one of the most common causes of neck and back pain. DDD is a normal part of the aging process and is a natural degenerative condition that can sometimes cause pain. The disc in your spine is responsible for providing a cushion between the vertebral bones and allows you to bend, twist and flex in your everyday activities. When the disc begins to age it loses height, elasticity and the jelly filled center becomes dehydrated making movement more difficult.
- Neck/Back Pain
- Numbness in the arms or legs
Physical therapy can help alleviate pain and restore function using a variety of modalities and exercises.
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
This condition is one that affects the articular cartilage in the joints of the spine. Over time this cartilage can wear down making it more difficult for movement. It can result from pervious injury, obesity, diabetes but is most commonly caused by the natural aging process.
- Joint stiffness
- Localized throbbing or pain
- Grinding feeling upon movement
If untreated, this can lead to more complicated conditions as the degenerative process progresses. Physical therapy treatment may consist of massage, therapeutic modalities, manual therapy techniques, stretching/strengthening exercises and patient education on home care.