If you have DDD and back pain is a main symptom, the chiropractor looks at 3 main causes:
- Degeneration in the spinal joints may be disturbing the mechanics of the spine.
- Thinning and degenerative discs might be bulging and putting pressure on spinal nerves.
- Spinal stenosis can cause back pain and leg pain.
Chiropractic Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease
The goal of chiropractic care for DDD is to improve joint mechanics by improving spinal motion and reducing inflammation. The chiropractor may also work on improving the function of the intervertebral discs—but that’s only if you do not have advanced disc degeneration.
To help treat your DDD symptoms, your chiropractor may use spinal manipulation (also called spinal adjustment). There are multiple types of spinal manipulation. Some common ones are:
- specific spinal manipulation: Your chiropractor will identify the joints that are restricted or those that show abnormal motion. He or she will work to restore movement to the joints using a gentle thrusting technique.
- flexion-distraction technique: This type of spinal manipulation uses a gentle, non-thrusting technique; it’s typically used to treat herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
- instrument-assisted manipulation: This technique uses a hand-held instrument. The chiropractor applies gentle force without thrusting directly into the spine.
Manual therapy may also be used to help treat DDD symptoms. Examples of manual therapy techniques are:
- trigger point therapy: The chiropractor identifies tight painful points on a muscle and puts direct pressure on these points to relieve tension.
- manual joint stretching and resistance techniques: Your chiropractor may use one of these techniques to relieve pain and other DDD symptoms.
- therapeutic massage: Massage can help reduce muscle tension.
- instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy: An example of this type of manual therapy is the Impulse IQ technique, which uses an instrument to reduce pain and other symptoms.