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What Are the Phases of Degeneration?

illustration of a woman with back painDegenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that occurs when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates, resulting in pain and sometimes weakness and numbness.

Four Phases of Degeneration

Stage 1

During this first phase, the loss of the natural curvature of the spine can indicate the beginning of degenerative disc disease. Pain may not be noticeable, but extra pressure is being placed on the spine, which can lead to faster aging of the spine, nerves, and joints.

Stage 2

In this second phase, the degradation of discs becomes more apparent. The curvature of the spine will become more unnatural, and the spinal canal may become narrower. Stage 2 is often where you will experience some pain and discomfort.

Stage 3

During this third phase, there’s a more extreme change in the posture and curvature of the spine. There’s also more pain and less mobility. Nerve damage is common, and scar tissue usually begins to develop.

Stage 4

This last stage of degenerative disc disease is the most severe and considered irreversible. At this point, the spine has extremely limited flexibility, and pain is often unbearable.

How Chiropractic Can Help

Chiropractic care is a preferred treatment option for degenerative disc disease, as it’s gentle and non-invasive. The earlier the stage of degenerative disc disease, the more likely it can be successfully addressed.

When patients come in, we do exams and X-rays. When we do, the X-rays usually tell what phase a patient is in. Dr. Owais is looking for nice smooth bones and the spaces between the bones to be equal.

“It takes 10 years to get from each phase to the other,” she said. Some patients may come in and say it just started hurting last week. But when Dr. Owais takes X-rays that often look like the patient is in phase one or phase 2, she knows it’s been there for 10-20 years.

To stop the progression, we take the pressure off the nerve, making sure the bone is moving properly the way it needs to be moved. Dr. Owais does that through specific chiropractic adjustments.

Patients can experience pain at every phase. Usually, if people are in phase 1, the degeneration can be reversed. But if they’re in phase 2 or 3, it can’t be reversed, but we can help slow down or stop the decay.

Take That First Step

You only have one spine, so you want it to be healthy for a lifetime. Chiropractic care can help you enjoy optimal spinal and overall health. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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