How Physical Therapy Can Help Combat Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition often associated with aging as the discs in your spine change as you grow older.  

Your discs in your spine help your back stay flexible. They allow you to do things like bend and rotate your back. They also absorb shock between the bones of your spine.

Although discs break down with age, not everyone feels associated pain. Degenerative disc disease occurs when you experience pain related to the worn-out discs.

Understanding your spinal discs

Spinal discs are comprised of two parts: the outer layer and the core.

The outer layer is strong and firm and contains nerves. Tears in the outer layer can be extremely painful.

The core, by contrast, is soft and jelly-like in texture. It contains proteins, which can impact the tissues they touch. If any of these proteins leak out to the outer layer, where the nerves are located, you might experience extreme pain.

Causes of degenerative disc disease

A few causes of degenerative disc disease include:

Disc dry out  

At birth, our discs are 80% water.  As we age, the discs start drying out, thereby losing its ability to absorb shock.


Along with daily activities can result in tears in the outer layer of the disc

Other factors include injuries that cause soreness and instability. These often result in lower back pain.

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease include a sharp, constant pain in your back and neck. You might also experience:

Treatment Options

Many different treatment options are dependent on your symptoms and the severity of your pain. At The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, Dr. Thomas Jones, II, MD, can make the appropriate recommendations based on your case.


Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease your pain and reduce your swelling. If these types of medications do not work, Dr. Jones can prescribe more effective medication.

Steroid shots

A steroid shot in the epidural space in your back could help alleviate some of the pain of degenerative disc pain.

Physical therapy

Dr. Jones may prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in your neck and back, thereby providing support for your spine.

Physical therapy and degenerative disc disease

Before more invasive treatments, Dr. Jones usually recommends physical therapy for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. Physical therapy consists of a routine of exercises designed to prevent lower back pain. It is also effective at helping your back retain its strength and flexibility. Finally, physical therapy helps to promote healthier discs, muscles, and joints by aiding in the delivery of nutrients to the spine.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of degenerative disc disease and would like to try physical therapy as a treatment option, please contact us at our office. Dr. Jones and his talented staff have the experience and compassion to help alleviate your pain. We have offices in Pearland, Houston and Lake Jackson, Texas to serve your needs. Please give us a call today or you can request an appointment directly online.

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