One of the most common issues I see in my office with patients is disc degeneration.
Essentially, disc degeneration is when the material in between the bones of the spine breakdown. This can lead to thinning, brittle, and less resilient or adaptable tissues in the spine. As you can imagine, this is not a good thing. Especially if you want to age gracefully.
I just finished reading a fascinating article in The Bone and Joint Journal called The Pathophysiology of Disc Degeneration that was chock full of 175 references!
While that level of exploratory depth is unnecessary for anyone other than a researcher, the higher level take-away is important for all of us to consider.
The Cause of Disc Degeneration
While there are aging and genetic factors involved in disc degeneration, the main culprit is abnormal loading and abnormal mechanical stress.
If we want to keep our discs healthy as well as have a healthy spine and nerve system, we have to balance and normalize the loading and mechanical stress.
What does that look like?
- Prioritize form over performance when it comes to our workouts. Stop doing crazy, high intensity workouts until you collapse. There, I said it! Your form will inevitably break down as you get tired, and your body will fall apart. Now, this isn’t an excuse to only walk and skip the weights. You have to find a balance where you stress your system but while still staying within the injury-free zone of performance. It’s a delicate balance but one worth committing to.
- Prioritize nutrition that reduces inflammation and provides your body with the essential nutrients to heal and repair. This includes foods like bone broth, grass-fed pasture-raised meat, eggs, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration dries the tissues out and makes them more susceptible to injury. Add minerals into your water to increase absorption such as a high-quality salt, magnesium, and a little potassium.
- Take long walks and mobilize your tissues through self-myofascial release, mobility work, and massage.
- Maintain an optimal spinal structure. Abnormal shifts in the spine cause abnormal loading which leads to higher rate of aging and increased risk of injury. Structural chiropractic care will help to reduce or eliminate these abnormal shifts bringing the spine into a higher state of balance, strength, and adaptability. Structural chiropractic care is an essential piece of maintaining a healthy spinal structure and slowing down the rate of degeneration.
Invest in Your Health
Staying healthy is not rocket science but it does take a significant amount of investment. It is an investment very much like any other investment. It is a commitment of time, energy, and money that pays back much more than you put in.
Would you contribute $100 to an investment account if it would routinely give you back $500?
Every investment you make into your health from structural chiropractic correction to grass-fed, pastured beef to a gym membership is going to reward you many times over in your quality of life, performance, and health.
Do you want to invest in your health now or be forced to pay for it many times over later?
Either way, it is going to cost you.
All the best,
Dr. Matt Westheimer