The intervertebral discs are between each vertebra (bone segments of the spine) and fibrous cartilage composes them.
They act to stabilize and mobilize the spine, and to absorb the shocks. That results from movement, in order to prevent damage to the body.
When intervertebral discs are damaged and degenerated (most commonly in the neck and lower back regions), the spine loses stability and mobility, and various complications may arise, including:
- Spinal stenosis
What are the symptoms of degenerative disk disease?
The most common symptoms of degenerative disk disease are neck pain and back pain. You may experience pain that:
Comes and goes, lasting for weeks or months at a time.
Radiates down your buttocks and lower back.
What causes degenerative disk disease?
Spinal discs wear down as a normal part of aging. Especially after age 40, most people experience some disk degeneration.
You might have pain if your spinal disks:
- Dry out: Your disks have a soft core that mostly contains water. As you get older, that core naturally loses some water.
- Tear or crack: Minor injuries can lead to small cracks in your spinal disks. These tears are often near nerves. If the outer wall of your spinal disk cracks open, your disk may bulge out of place, known as a herniated disk, which may compress a spinal nerve.
What does degenerative disk pain feel like?
Degenerative disk pain:
- Can happen in the neck or lower back.
- Can get worse after certain activities such as bending, twisting or lifting.
How is degenerative disk disease treated?
Usually, your healthcare provider will recommend noninvasive treatment options first. Your treatment may include:
- Physical therapy: Participating in strengthening and stretching exercises with a trained healthcare provider.
- Medications: Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxers or steroids.
- Steroid injections: Injecting medicine near your spinal nerves, disk or joints to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Radiofrequency neurotomy: Using electric currents to burn sensory nerves and prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
Can I treat degenerative disk disease at home?
Some people find pain relief through at-home remedies. At-home treatments may decrease pain for a short time. But they are not a long-term treatment for severely degenerated disks. You may try:
- Exercise: Low-impact activity such as walking or swimming can strengthen back muscles and relieve some pain.
- Hot and cold therapy: Alternating ice packs and heating pads every 10 to 15 minutes up to three to four times per day may reduce soreness and inflammation.Stretching: Gentle yoga and
- Stretching throughout the day may improve posture and relieve tension.
Do I need surgery for degenerative disk disease?
Many patients do not need surgery for degenerative disk disease. But if you have tried multiple nonsurgical treatments and have persistent pain and/or weakness, surgery may be a good option.
Or your surgeon may use one of a few types of spinal decompression surgery:
- Diskectomy: Removing part of a spinal disk to relieve pressure on your nerves.
- Foraminotomy: Expanding the opening for your nerve roots by removing tissue and bone.
- Laminectomy: Taking out a small portion of bone from your lower spine (lamina).
- Osteophyte removal: Removing bone spurs, chronic back pain (osteophytes).
- Spinal fusion: During this procedure, your surgeon connects two or more vertebrae to improve stability.
Degenerative disc disease occurs more frequently as:
- People get older
- Obese people who smoke cigarettes
- Who often perform heavy manual labor.
- Who suffer traumas from a fall.
The results of a controlled animal study published, in PLOS One in December 2014 suggest that, the administration of cannabidiol (CBD), a “non-psychoactive” cannabinoid (known for its numerous potential health benefits, including inflammation and reduction of pain), can be useful to reduce the damage caused by degenerative disc disease.
How can CBD help?
The researchers studied 19 rats and created a model of human disc degenerative disease. By using needle punctures to injure the intervertebral discs (spinal discs) in the coccyx area of the spines of rats. Aswell all depends on the doses of cbd.
We can divide the subjects into three groups and each treated immediately with a different concentration of CBD and the CBD oil with full spectrum and the 0.3 thc (30, 60 or 120 nmol).
The discs were then examined using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and histologically (under a microscope, to see the lesions in detail).
The magnetic resonance analysis showed that the treatment with 30 and 60 nmol of CBD didn´t produce improvements in the lesion. It does not have any side effects.
However, the group that received 120 nmol of CBD and the cbd products experienced reduced damage and helped the endocannabinoid system cb1 and cb2 .
They have protective effects. The MRI showed improvements within 2 days after injury / treatment. Lasted until at least 15 days after injury / treatment (the last day of the experiment). When examined by MRI and histologically.
Although the sample size of this study was very small, the researchers note that. “Given that cannabidiol has an extremely safe profile and is currently used clinically, these results suggest that this compound could be useful in the treatment of degenerative disc disease…
Although we need even more research to clarify the mechanisms involved in the effects of CBD. The current results suggest the possibility of its use for the treatment of disc degeneration.” So now, you know how CBD can help for intervertebral disc degeneration.
I´ll catch you on the next post!