Degenerative disc disease is not a ‘disease’ at all, but part of the normal aging process for our spines. An x-ray or MRI study may show signs of disc degeneration in individuals who have no pain or other symptoms related to this condition.
If you have imaging that shows degenerative disc disease and come to me for an evaluation, I would first take a thorough history and perform a complete examination of the problem area and areas related to it which may produce your symptoms. This thorough and systematic mechanical testing is necessary to determine whether your condition would be suitable for treatment in this office. A complete examination helps determine whether your current symptoms may or may not be related to your x-ray or MRI findings.
If it is determined that your condition is appropriate for treatment in this office, a specific treatment plan would be demonstrated on the first visit and tested for effectiveness over a few follow up sessions, often including– (1)specific exercises to ease pain and restore function, (2) advice on how to care for yourself,(3) soft tissue manipulation,and (4)spinal mobilization techniques or spinal manipulation.
A short course of physical therapy modalities may also be recommended if your condition has been recent in onset in order to manage acute pain. These modalities may include ice/heat and electric muscle stimulation. Part of your visit should include education for future self-management in prevention and avoidance of recurrences.