So many patients come in complaining that they don’t really have severe pain, but over the last several years their back has gotten increasingly stiff upon waking in the morning. This is very common and usually occurs in people whom are above the age of 40.
As you age, and the repetitive stress that is endured from daily activities accumulates in your body, supportive tissues in and around the joints slowly wear down. The types of activities that you engage in over the first 40 years of your life defines what tissues in your body wear down first. For example, if you sit in front of a computer all day at work, and you’ve been doing it for 20+ years, the hands, neck, and back wear down first. If you are a construction worker or manual laborer your shoulders, low back, hips, and knees will wear down first.
Increasing low back stiffness upon waking in the morning occurs because the intervertebral discs in your back are progressively wearing down. Physiologically, when the connective tissue that makes up the disc (glucopolyglycans) begins to lose its strength and structure it is no longer able to hold on to its normal water content. It is the fluid in the disc that gives you movement between spinal bones. When the water content of the disc reduces the disc becomes a dry sponge-like structure creating the stiffness many people feel when they get up in the morning. This condition is called “Degenerative Disc Disease” (DDD).
There is no way to rejuvenate the disc. Don’t panic…there’s hope! Chiropractic care can dramatically help slow down the degenerative process and ensure that your nerves do not get damaged as seen below. In addition, there are natural supplements (Nutra Disc by Anabolic Labs as an example) and exercises that help to maintain what disc remains, and reduce the inflammation commonly associated with the degenerative process. To find out if you have DDD, or obtain information about chiropractic, supplements, and the exercises click on the “Make an Appointment” tab, or call my office to set up an appointment- (201) 670-7661.