I have spent the last 15 plus years helping people who suffer from chronic low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, sciatica, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, headaches and neuropathy. I also do a great deal of functional medicine with patients internationally.
One question that I get over and over again is, “My doctors tell me that I’m old and that my pain is from arthritis and that I’m just going to have to live with it. Is that true?”
I would say that not completely, but to a certain degree, the answer is, “yes”. However, there are things that can be done to help lessen the problem of degenerative disc disease and therefore make it a non-issue for the most part.
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?
The first question that needs to be answered is what is degenerative disc disease in the first place? I am an educator of my patients.
I like to explain what is going on (in easy to understand terms) so that my patients understand what they are dealing with and what we are going to do about their problem.
Degenerative disc disease is caused by deterioration and breakdown of the disc space in the spine. A spinal joint is composed of 2 vertebrae (bones) and a disc (the cushion or shock absorber between the bones).
As the disc loses water and dehydrates, the vertebrae (bones) get closer together. Jamming of the bones causes irritation to the facet joints and can cause them to become inflamed. Chronic inflammation of the facet joints can cause them to enlarge and become arthritic.
What is Facet Joint Hypertrophy?
Facet joint hypertrophy is the scientific name for enlarged facet joints. Enlargement of the facet joints can take up space on the back side of the spinal foramina which are the holes that the spinal nerves travel through on their way into the buttocks, hips, legs, and feet.
Facet joint hypertrophy is a common cause of spinal canal stenosis and also foraminal canal stenosis. Once the facet joints are enlarged, they are enlarged for life. This is an example of the arthritic component of degenerative disc disease that nothing can be done about. Enlarged bones are enlarged bones.
What can be done for Foraminal Canal Stenosis?
What I focus on with my patients is the soft tissues involving the spinal joint complex. I work with the soft tissue component called the intervertebral discs. By hydrating the discs, more cushion and shock absorption can be restored to the joints.
When there is an improved and healthier disc space, the facet joints aren’t jammed together any longer and can glide instead of grinding like a rim scraping against a curb.
When there is more space, the joints can become less inflamed and the arthritic progression of joint deterioration and degenerative disc disease can be slowed down.
By pulling soft tissue components (that belong in the disc) back into the disc, the soft tissue that is pushing into the foramina can be reduced and therefore achieve a reduction in foraminal canal stenosis.
Do Lasers Reduce Inflammation?
Additionally, my Class 4 Deep Tissue Laser treatments are very effective at helping reduce inflammation. Less inflammation usually means less pain and dysfunction. Chronically inflamed tissues go through degenerative changes and break down.
My patients like my lasers because they feel really good. I like them because of the physiological changes that occur at the cellular level.
The deep tissue lasers flush out cellular debris, and help the damaged and inflamed tissues produce more energy so that they can repair faster.
In summary, the arthritic component of degenerative disc disease is a permanent condition. However, the pain and suffering and health of the joint space can often be greatly improved through my natural and non-invasive treatment methods.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie