The Workplace Seating Solutions Company

Degenerative Disc Disease and the Benefits of Exercise

Degenerative Disc Disease - doesn't that description sound awful, almost terminal!

Author - Malcolm Pankhurst, Director Backchairs Direct Limited

10 years ago, a leading London clinician told me that I had the spine of someone 25 years older, all because of Degenerative Disc Disease ("DDD"). Oh Crikey! I thought, better do all those things I want to do before it goes completely! However, with a little research you soon discover how common this condition is, especially when it has not been detected.

If a NHS consultant says you NEED surgery - then you do! but that's the last option and conservative management can go along away to avoid the need for it. We won't go into what DDD is, you undoubtedly will have been told that by your medical practitioner, during which it probably will have been downgraded to "wear and tear" - phew that was close!

So what worked for me? Following on from the surgery on three prolapsed discs, looking at the balance of my spine afterwards, riddled with DDD apparently, the thing that has worked for me and continues to work is exercise. On a regular basis I had referred pain from my cervical spine into my arm, and from my lumbar spine into my buttock and legs. After a very long time (years) of taking painkillers, opiates/NSAIDs, something said STOP, is this necessary?

Medication may be necessary initially to reduce the pain and inflammation to a level that you feel confident about exercise. I started some research and really investigated the alternatives to daily medication that might suit me.

I don't like gym's or running (can't be good for your joints, can it?!) but swimming - I love. Getting up early 3 times a week and swimming approximately 2 miles a week has been my main alternative


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Over a period of time, my referred pain in my arm and legs has gone. No this isn't miraculous, and nor will it never come back, as it does from time to time, but usually it is because I have been inactive at home or have spent too long on the computer. So, the outcome of this switch to regular exercise?

Taking any medication - NOPE.
Feel healthier and fitter - YUP. Found yourself preaching to others about this - YUP.
The point here is EXERCISE and MOVEMENT is an alternative. Commit to an effective exercise and stretching routine daily and you too will notice an improvement. Bed rest and inactivity is the worst thing you can do for your health and wellbeing.

There are many ways to work out a good exercise plan, besides the obvious Google/YouTube advice, if you're still unsure then go and see a Physiotherapist who will be more than happy to advise you. While you're there ask them how you should get out of bed as this is really important and can make or break each day.

Will your office chair care for your back?

If you are office bound, working from a PC, ensure your office chair supports your back and offers the functionality to achieve a positive posture position.

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Take regular breaks while at work. When you stand up after sitting at your desk do you say "Oh that's better and stretch". Well if you do then you need to take control of your situation as you have been sitting for too long and probably in a posture negative position.