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The Connection Between Our Daily Habits and Degenerative Disc Disease

Picture this: It's an average weekday. You've worked eight hours at your desk, your shoulders stiff and your back hunched. You come home, exhausted, and spend a few more hours seated in front of the television, munching on some chips. Sound familiar? We've all been there, and while these daily routines seem harmless, they might be contributing to a condition that affects millions worldwide: degenerative disc disease.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease isn't actually a disease but rather a condition in which the discs separating your vertebrae start to break down. This natural wear-and-tear process, usually associated with aging, can lead to back or neck pain and decreased flexibility. Yet, our daily habits and lifestyle choices can significantly hasten this process.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease

A sedentary lifestyle, marked by hours spent sitting at a desk or lounging on a couch, puts additional stress on your spine. The lack of movement reduces the spine's flexibility and limits the supply of nutrients to the discs. All these factors combined can expedite the disc degeneration process. So, the more you indulge in sedentary habits, the higher the risk of developing this condition.

What you put into your body can also influence disc health. A diet lacking essential nutrients can result in weaker discs, making them more susceptible to wear and tear. The health of your discs is directly linked to your overall nutrition. Consuming foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and proteins can help keep your discs healthy and stave off the degenerative process.

Obesity, too, plays a significant role in disc degeneration. Excessive body weight puts additional stress on the discs, particularly in the lower back, causing them to break down more rapidly. Incorporating physical activity and maintaining a balanced diet not only aids in weight control but also promotes overall spinal health.

Smoking is another lifestyle factor that contributes to degenerative disc disease. Cigarettes contain toxic substances that can restrict blood flow to the discs, limiting their nutrient supply and accelerating their breakdown. Kicking this habit can do wonders for your disc health.

Now, while all this might sound a bit alarming, the good news is that making some simple changes in your lifestyle can help protect your spinal health.

Lifestyle Changes

Active jobs

First, aim to be more active. If your job requires long hours at a desk, try to take short breaks to stretch or walk around. Yoga or Pilates can also be beneficial as they promote flexibility and strengthen your back and neck muscles, offering extra support to your spine.

Change Diet

Next, reconsider your diet. Try to incorporate nutrient-rich foods that support bone health, such as dairy products, fish, and green leafy vegetables. You might also consider drinking more water to keep your body and discs well hydrated.

Strive for Healthier Weight

If you're overweight, strive to achieve a healthier weight. This doesn't mean you need to become a gym addict or go on a crash diet. Instead, make healthier choices. Opt for a walk or bike ride instead of watching TV, choose water over soda, and fill your plate with more vegetables and fewer fried foods.

Quit Smoking

And if you're a smoker, consider quitting. It's not easy, we know, but the benefits for your overall health and, in particular, your spinal health are well worth it.

Treating Degenerative Disc Disease

When it comes to treating degenerative disc disease, the approach largely depends on the severity of symptoms. If the condition is in the early stages and the pain is mild, conservative, non-invasive treatments are typically recommended.

However, if the pain is severe and these methods are ineffective, more invasive treatments may be necessary. In the realm of innovative treatments, we find DiscGenics, a biotechnology company making headway with a unique, cell-based therapy called IDCT (Injectable Disc Cell Therapy). This potential treatment IDCT which is specifically designed to restore the structure and function of the damaged disc.

Conclusion

Degenerative disc disease is, unfortunately, a common part of aging. However, the choices we make every day can influence how rapidly it progresses. By adopting healthier habits, we can ensure our discs, and consequently, our bodies, remain as strong and flexible as possible. Let's take control of our spinal health, one step at a time. After all, prevention is always better than cure.

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