Spine Care

Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health

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Young adults don’t think about disc deterioration/degeneration until it’s time for the golden years. The disorder is known as Scheuermann’s diseaseScheuermann’s Kyphosis, and juvenile disc disorder. It affects young adults, usually in their late teens to early thirties. Spinal injuries can cause, but many doctors believe genetics that leads to disc degeneration is a major factor. And still, others believe it is the wear and tear on the spine as the main cause.

The disorder is characterized by disc degeneration throughout the spine. The discs are weakened and cannot withstand the pressure of everyday spinal support. Then the spine is open to all kinds of spinal health issues. These include:

If left untreated, the condition shifts into full-blown degenerative disc disease combined with various health problems like numbness, muscle weakness, and nerve damage. Juvenile disc disorder is rare but is a condition that requires immediate ongoing medical attention to make sure young adults and juveniles protect long-term spinal health. Adolescents with consistent back pain need to be thoroughly examined by a chiropractor. The value of an accurate diagnosis when it comes to developing and administering advanced treatment could be vital.

Cause For Concern

The disorder occurs when parts of the vertebrae known as endplates become too weak to withstand the spinal pressure inside the disc. The endplates are the top and bottom areas of the vertebrae that attach to the cartilage disc between each vertebra.

When the endplates become weak, segments of the tough cartilage can protrude into the endplate and the vertebra. These protrusions are called Schmorl’s nodes and can contribute to the pain.

Age-related wear and tear spinal conditions should not be present in kids and young adults. If there are persistent spinal issues and back pain, there could be undiagnosed problem/s. Potential symptoms can include:

  • Continued pain throughout the spine/back
  • Sitting, standing, or laying down causes an aching back
  • Transitioning from walking to running or vice versa causes pain
  • Bending, lifting non-heavy objects causes aching and pain
  • Stretching the arms over the head causes aches and pain
  • Posture problems to compensate for the back discomfort and pain
  • Sleep problems

Disc Disorder Management

Because the disorder primarily affects the vertebral discs, chiropractic pain management focuses on reducing the discs’ pressure and strain. However, it does not mean that activity is to be restricted. Managing the condition focuses on improving strength and flexibility.

Foundation strengthening/support is where a chiropractor could begin. This strengthens the hips, thighs, and hamstrings, promoting stabilization of the posterior chain. This leads to body core stability and less spinal concussion during activity/s. Stretching exercises help maintain flexibility for dynamic movements like twisting and bending.

Aerobic activity is also recommended to keep the condition in check. The heart pumping circulates more blood throughout the body, ensuring that the inflamed or injured areas get plenty of oxygenated blood, specifically the spine. Body mechanics also play a role as a proper heel striking when walking or running.

Proper body mechanics lessens the impact of aerobics on the spine and promotes overall wellness. Chiropractic spinal adjustments and realignment could also be part of a management treatment plan. High-velocity low amplitude adjustments help to reset the vertebrae and takes the stress off of discs.

Prevention

Addressing any disc disorder early is the first step to prevent a lifetime of back pain problems. Seeking a chiropractic assessment as soon as possible help identify any spinal misalignments or underlying conditions that mimick back pain symptoms/conditions. A chiropractor will develop a customized treatment/management plan to fit an individual’s needs.


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References

Heithoff, KB et al. “Juvenile discogenic disease.” Spine vol. 19,3 (1994): 335-40. doi:10.1097/00007632-199402000-00014

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

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

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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