In many individuals with degenerative disc disease, how does spinal decompression compare to spinal surgery improve spine flexibility?


The spine is essential to the body’s musculoskeletal system, enabling individuals to perform daily movements while maintaining proper posture. The spinal cord is safeguarded by surrounding ligaments, soft tissues, muscles, and nerve roots. The spinal discs between the spinal column act as shock absorbers to reduce stress from axial overload and promote body mobility and flexibility. The spinal discs can naturally degenerate as a person ages, leading to degenerative disc disease. This condition can result in several spinal issues that can impact the spine’s flexibility. This article explores how degenerative disc disease affects the spine and the treatments available to restore its flexibility. We work with certified medical providers who use our patients’ valuable information to treat individuals suffering from degenerative disc disease affecting their spine’s flexibility. We also inform them about non-surgical treatments to regain spinal mobility and reduce pain-like symptoms. We encourage patients to ask essential questions and seek education from our associated medical providers about their condition. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., provides this information as an educational service. Disclaimer


How Does Degenerative Disc Disease Affect The Spine?


Do you experience neck or lower back pain after a long workday? After physical activity, do you find temporary relief by twisting or turning your torso? Are you experiencing radiating pain in your upper or lower extremities that worsens when standing? These symptoms are common as the body ages over time. Muscles, organs, ligaments, and joints can all be affected, including the spine and intervertebral discs. Research studies reveal that disc degeneration frequently occurs in the spine, leading to changes that can cause misalignment and spinal issues. Degenerative disc disease can disrupt the structure of spinal discs, resulting in pain-like symptoms and accelerating degenerative changes to the spine. Regardless of age, various habits and lifestyle choices can contribute to degeneration. As additional research studies have provided, this condition is characterized by a tension-resisting annulus fibrosus and compression-resisting nucleus pulposus, causing pain and discomfort.


The Symptoms Correlating With Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is when the spinal disc in the spine experiences wear and tear due to natural aging. The initial indication of this disease is disc cracking caused by repetitive motion trauma. The symptoms associated with this disease are similar but may vary based on the affected spine location. Research shows that degenerative disc disease can cause micro tears in the spinal disc, leading to decreased fluids and water intake, disc space loss, disc bulging, and irritation of the adjacent nerves. This can affect surrounding muscle tissues and disc facet joints, narrowing the spinal canal. Additional studies reveal that people with degenerative disc disease may experience various symptoms that can hinder their ability to function properly. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the arms, legs, and feet
  • Sensory abnormalities (loss of sensation in the hands, feet, fingers, and back)
  • Muscle tenderness and weakness
  • Instability
  • Inflammation
  • Visceral-somatic & somatic-visceral condition

If someone experiences pain-like symptoms in conjunction with degenerative disc disease can negatively impact their quality of life and potentially lead to long-term disability. Fortunately, treatments can slow the degenerative process and alleviate the pain-like symptoms.


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When individuals experience pain related to degenerative disc disease, they often seek ways to alleviate it. Some may consider spinal surgery to remove the affected disc and ease the pain caused by the irritated nerve. However, this option is typically only pursued if other treatments have failed and can be expensive. Fortunately, non-surgical treatments are cost-effective and safe, gently addressing the affected area for relief. Non-surgical treatments can be customized to the individual’s specific pain and condition, including spinal decompression, MET therapy, traction therapy, and chiropractic care. These methods work to realign the body and promote natural healing by rehydrating the spine, ultimately restoring flexibility.

Treatments To Improve Spinal Flexibility

Individuals with degenerative disc disease can benefit from non-surgical treatments tailored to their needs. These treatments involve an assessment by a pain specialist, such as a physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor, who will identify the source of the pain and use various techniques to reduce pain, improve flexibility in the spine, and loosen stiff muscles that have been affected by the disease. Additionally, non-surgical treatments can help restore sensory and mobility function to the spine and address factors that may exacerbate the degenerative process.


Spinal Decompression Protocol For Degenerative Disc Disease

Research studies suggest that spinal decompression can effectively reduce the degenerative process of spinal discs through gentle traction. During a spinal decompression treatment, the individual is strapped into a traction machine. The machine gradually stretches the spine to create negative pressure on the spinal disc, which helps to rehydrate it and increase nutrient intake, thereby jumpstarting the healing process. According to Dr. Eric Kaplan, D.C., FIAMA, and Dr. Perry Bard, D.C., in their book “The Ultimate Spinal Decompression,” individuals with degenerative disc disease may require higher pressure during spinal decompression treatment due to its symptomatic problems. Spinal decompression can help restore disc height and be a viable solution for those looking to improve their health.



Choi, E., Gil, H. Y., Ju, J., Han, W. K., Nahm, F. S., & Lee, P.-B. (2022). Effect of Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression on Intensity of Pain and Herniated Disc Volume in Subacute Lumbar Herniated Disc. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2022, 1–9.

Choi, Y.-S. (2009). Pathophysiology of Degenerative Disc Disease. Asian Spine Journal, 3(1), 39.

Kaplan, E., & Bard, P. (2023). The Ulitimate Spinal Decompression. JETLAUNCH.

Liyew, W. A. (2020). Clinical Presentations of Lumbar Disc Degeneration and Lumbosacral Nerve Lesions. International Journal of Rheumatology, 2020, 1–13.

Scarcia, L., Pileggi, M., Camilli, A., Romi, A., Bartolo, A., Giubbolini, F., Valente, I., Garignano, G., D’Argento, F., Pedicelli, A., & Alexandre, A. M. (2022). Degenerative Disc Disease of the Spine: From Anatomy to Pathophysiology and Radiological Appearance, with Morphological and Functional Considerations. Journal of Personalized Medicine, 12(11), 1810.

Taher, F., Essig, D., Lebl, D. R., Hughes, A. P., Sama, A. A., Cammisa, F. P., & Girardi, F. P. (2012). Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease: Current and Future Concepts of Diagnosis and Management. Advances in Orthopedics, 2012, 1–7.



Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Degenerative Disc Protocols Implemented For Spinal Decompression" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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