Chiropractor Questions Cervical degenerative disk disease

Is there a treatment for degenerative disc disease?

My mother was diagnosed with cervical degenerative disk disease and she is 80 years old. How is degenerative disc disease treated in older adults?

24 Answers

Lately stem cell therapy might be a promising therapy but as of now you can only reduce progression with therapeutic treatments like chiropractic
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usually with medication unless the chiropractor is able to help. I would suggest trying a chiropractor first but the meds should help if not.
In my office, Lafayette, Hilltop Chiropractic, Dr Mary Jean Negri, I work with elderly along with younger people with degenerative disc disease. My treatment includes massage along with other GENTLE modalities to ease the pain. There are gentle ways to adjust elderly patients to assure they respond well to my care.

Dr. Mary Jean Negri
In order to maintain normal disc health through ones life there are many factors. Hydration is a key factor, the disc material is commonly referred to as a "jelly doughnut", as it's made up of a stiffer cartilage on the outside and a fluid filled center,and if you dry up the "jelly" then the overall health of the disc deteriorates. Which if one takes joint supplements such as glucosamine chondrotin, you have to have an abundance of water in the area or else the supplements won't help. The way in which these work is by drawing water into the cells to help re hydrate them. So if the surrounding areas do not have enough water as it is then they won't be able to bring the water in that's necessary. Then theirs the lack of motion that also causes accelerated degeneration of the disc. The disc is not as well supplied with a rich blood supply as other tissues are in the body. With that said the disc needs motion whether it is simply twisting, side bending, forward, backward, compression, or distraction it needs motion to promote the movement of nutrients and waste products. Without proper motion the disc material starts to starve in a toxic waste land essentially as it can not get the waste products out. Imagine the burn you get from a lactic acid build up in your muscles that your body could not clear as well so you felt it longer then normal. That's whats going on in the disc without proper motion. As far as treatment is concerned degenerative disc disease, DDD, is treated best if you do take the water and hydrate appropriately, along with joint supplements, ensure also a good diet that is protein rich and diverse, join a gym in weight bearing exercise, and I strongly suggest a chiropractic appointment because restoring motion to the disc is what they do with their adjustments. NSAID use I would refrain from as the first mode of treatment due to the long term use side effects.
Most of the time degenerative disc disease is treated conservatively in older adults depending on many factors. The focus of treatment would be to prevent the DDD from getting worse.
Yes. But it depends on the amount and length of time you've had the damage
Emphatic yes! Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000 is best!!!
In older adults degenerative disc disease can be helped with heat, stretches and traction to the neck.
Is there a treatment for degenerative disc disease?

My mother was diagnosed with cervical degenerative disk disease and she is 80 years old. How is degenerative disc disease treated in older adults? There are 4 stages of DDD. At her age, it could just be maintenance of symptoms and keeping it from getting worse. You can try decompression, muscle therapies, some try laser therapies, and of course chiropractic adjustments.

Other things she could do at home:

- Reduce stress
- Avoid or quit smoking
- Stay well hydrated
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Maintain a healthy weight through good nutrition and exercise
- Invest on a good-quality supportive mattress
Chiropractic with gentle instrument adjusting helps very well and then there is stem cell therapy which helps regenerate the joints and disc
Traction. Most chiropractic clinics can treat degenerative disc disease.

Have a great day!
There is no cure for degenerative disc disease (DDD) as it is basically arthritic changes of the soft tissue disc between the bones. DDD is treated by treating the symptoms associated with it including neck pain and tension of muscles, loss of motion of the neck, tingling/numbness in arms/hands, weakness of upper body. Chiropractors will generally try to promote better function of the cervical vertebrae via adjustments or physical therapy. In her case, it may be more gentle to her for them to use an instrument adjusting technique that gently pulses along the neck to get motion back. Add in some soft tissue work and stretching to get maximum benefit.

I would need to see recent X-rays to check the severity of the degeneration. We can also take X-rays in our office and sit down and review treatment options together. Gentle adjustments can be done to keep joints moving and help the surrounding spine stay healthy. We have ultrasound therapy, which helps regenerate tissue and flush out inflammation.

Dr. Amanda
The short answer is yes! Unfortunately, the protocol intervention is very aggressive and can be quite expensive, as well as being time sensitive, taking anywhere from 6-12 months to demonstrate significant improvement. Most of the intervention is developed pending the results of a number of pre-disposing factors and clinical indicators, including specific blood findings, evaluation of genetic predispositions, thyroid/parathyroid involvement, presence of hypochlorhydria, antacid use, obesity, alcohol/caffeine use, diet, pain patterns and hydration. Once evaluated, the primary intervention is diet, activity (movement therapy) and elaborate supplementation. Hope this helps.

My best,

The simple answer is movement. The kore movement she keeps the less likely the degenerative process will progress. Different treatments such as chiropractic physical therapy treatments have also proved to be beneficial for this condition. There is no way to get rid of the degenerative disc disease, but exercises, movements and therapies can help with the symptoms involved with it.
Patients with some degree of DDD are seen daily in most chiropractic offices. It is not always restricted to age. I have seen it in much younger patients. This disease is a result of the intervertebral disc shrinking due to a loss of fluid  over a period of time. Causes that can enhance the progress of DDD or add to its development are abnormal spinal curvatures, and vertebral fixations (loss of normal motion of spinal joints), and past injuries such as whiplash.
The symptoms caused by DDD are usually from nerve irritation, increased tension in muscles and ligaments and most common is simple loss of motion of the spine. Chiropractic has been helpful by being able to improve spinal mobility and reduce tension in the muscles and ligaments which also helps relieve nerve involvement. Mild chiropractic manipulation, and in your mother's case I would recommend a chiropractor that uses the Activator Method for spinal manipulation, in conjunction with a soft tissue technique of Active Release or Myofascial release.
Yes, there is. Spinal decompression and Cold laser treatment.
That’s a tricky one given her age. To give her some relief look into cervical traction devices. Decompress's her neck discs while the patient has total control of how much force to apply. They’re relatively inexpensive too. {$30+}
Gentle insturmental adjustments, massage to relax the cervical musculature and drink plenty of water. Hope this helps.
Discs degenerate mainly because the joints around them are not moving correctly. The joints need to be adjusted (as long as they’re not too arthritic or fused) to get them moving correctly again — which will take several months (if the chiropractor feels they can help). The chiropractor should also be using mechanical traction to help with the open the disc spaces.
In the Chiropractic office DDD is often treated with decompression and adjustments. Some 80 year olds tolerate decompression well, others are too frail. Nutritional supplements like papain and bromelain are also helpful in providing the necessary ingredients to help rehydrate the disc. It is the alignment of the vertebrae that affects wear and tear on the disc, so addressing the alignment can prevent disc issues, or prevent progression of the degeneration.
Acupuncture treats all degeneration, disk or otherwise. We treat DDD all the time at The Healing Point as pretty much every person has disks that degenerate because of aging. It is very normal.
Some will say exercise, some will say chiropractic, while others will say keep her comfortable and only massage. From 12 years in clinical practice, a light stretching program and some non-surgical spinal decompression slowly increased over 6 sessions will likely make her feel much better. Btw, most of us at age 80 will have degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease. 80 years of use and abuse wears out the joints. Minimally invasive therapies to give her as much comfort and pain relief which could include all the therapies mentioned in my first few sentances above. The one thing you dont want to do is...nothing. That will only make it worse.
Hi! Cervical disc disease can be treated in older adults, however, because of their age and degeneration it does take a little bit longer than it would with younger folks as you can imagine. We do similar things like traction muscle work and light physical therapy. Any kind of strengthening of the muscles and relaxing of knots in the tissue will provide more space for the desk and therefore less pressure on the nerves. This all equals less symptomatology for the patient, i.e., less pain. Some 80-year-olds are far more in shape than others, so individual treatments are individualized based on the patient themselves. There is hope! I hope that answer helps.

Yours in health,

Dr. Kim