Tips for Managing Degenerative Disc Pain
Degenerative discs usually result as a normal part of the aging process, sort of like developing gray hair, but that does not make the pain involved any less real. If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative disc, some relief options for general back pain will suffice, while others are more specific to your needs. Over time, the disc may stabilize and pain is no longer an issue. Get in touch with a back pain doctor to learn more about pain management and treatment.
Keep ice packs in your freezer and apply them to the affected area when pain flares up. Topical, over-the-counter “icing” medications may also help.
If the muscles around the disc feel tight, using a heating pad for a few minutes should make them feel looser. It is then easier to do the exercises and stretching that offer long term relief.
Once your pain is under reasonable control, stay active. Walking, swimming and low-impact exercising helps increase blood flow to your disc, keeping them in a better state of hydration. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about the best exercises and stretches for you to do considering your particular circumstances.
Excess weight puts extra strain on your discs. Your doctor can put together a diet and exercise program to help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Drinking water throughout the day helps with hydration. Improvement of degenerative disc disease is just one benefit.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is the time during which the body heals. If you do not receive a good 8 hours of sleep each night, you are likely to experience more back pain than someone who does receive adequate sleep. If you have problems sleeping, consult your doctor. An over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid may help you get the sleep you need and lessen your disc issues.
Avoid Cigarettes and Alcohol
Cigarettes are responsible for or exacerbate all sorts of health issues, and degenerative disc disease is no exception. Smoking prevents the right amount of oxygen from flowing into the discs. Alcohol causes dehydration, so avoid it or drink only occasionally.
Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
Many patients with degenerative disc disease find relief using over-the-counter pain medications. Such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available in both brand name and generic versions. These include ibuprofen – sold under the trade name Advil or Motrin – and naproxen, sold as Aleve. Aspirin is also a NSAID. Talk to your doctor about the best NSAID for your purposes. As with any medication, a NSAID may have side effects, such as stomach irritation.
Contact a Doctor
If you suffer from degenerative disc pain, call a Tampa Back pain doctor right away and arrange for an appointment and consultation.