Degenerative Disc Disease: Expert Solutions for Lasting Relief

Pain in the spine, woman with backache at home, injury in the lower back, photo with highlighted skeleton

Disc Degeneration, Disc bulge, Slipped Disc, Disc Prolapse or Sciatica are conditions that present with back pain and/or trapped nerves. Disc desiccation is quite a prevalent condition and is often cited as one of the main causes of lower back pain complaints.

The Intervertebral disc, or more commonly called the spinal disc, is located between two adjacent vertebral bodies. There are five discs in the lumbar spine, the first being located between L1/L2 (lumbar vertebra 1&2) and the last one is located between L5/S1 (Lumbar vertebra 5 and Sacrum).

Defying Degenerative Disc Disease: Your Path to Lasting Relief

Welcome to DC Physiotherapy Clondalkin Dublin, where we specialize in providing advanced and compassionate care for individuals facing the challenges of degenerative disc disease (DDD). If you’re dealing with back pain, reduced mobility, or related symptoms, our dedicated team is here to guide you towards effective solutions and a pain-free future.

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

Demystifying DDD: Degenerative Disc Disease is a common condition where the intervertebral discs in the spine deteriorate over time. This natural aging process can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility. However, with the right approach, it is possible to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Personalized Assessment: At DC Physiotherapy Clondalkin Dublin, we begin by conducting a thorough assessment to understand the specific factors contributing to your degenerative disc disease. This individualized approach allows us to tailor a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and concerns.

Our Comprehensive Approach to DDD Care

1. Precise Diagnosis: Accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. Our team utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify the extent of disc degeneration and any associated issues, laying the foundation for a targeted and effective care plan.

2. Advanced Pain Management: Experience relief through referral for advanced pain management techniques, including medication, injections, and non-pharmacological approaches. Our goal is to alleviate pain while preserving your overall spinal health.

3. Rehabilitation and Strengthening: Regain strength and flexibility through personalized rehabilitation programs. Our experienced physiotherapists guide you through exercises and therapies aimed at improving core strength, posture, and overall spine health.

4. Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression: Non-surgical spinal decompression is particularly effective for conditions where spinal discs are compressed or herniated. The therapy gently stretches the spine, creating negative pressure within the discs. This negative pressure can help retract herniated or bulging material, relieving pressure on nerves and reducing pain.

Why Choose DC Physiotherapy Clondalkin Dublin for DDD Care?

  • Specialized Expertise: Our team comprises experienced professionals with a focus on spinal health and degenerative disc conditions.
  • Patient-Centric Approach: Your preferences, concerns, and goals are at the forefront of our care. We work collaboratively with you to achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • Cutting-Edge Technology: We invest in the latest advancements in diagnostics and treatment modalities to ensure you receive the highest standard of care.

Take Control of Your Spinal Health Today

Don’t let degenerative disc disease dictate your life. Schedule a consultation with [Your Clinic Name] to start your personalized journey towards lasting relief. Our dedicated team is here to support you in overcoming the challenges of DDD and regaining control of your spine health.

The Disc

The disc consists of two separate parts. The outer part consists of a series of bands or rings called annulus fibrosus. To give an analogy of what this may look like, these bands resemble a sliced onion, and their behaviour can be described as a telephone directory rolled into a tube shape (very strong under compression). The central portion of a disc is called the nucleus pulposus and acts like a jelly substance that has a lot of fluid. Its behaviour resembles a spongy ball. Because every vertebra has a distinct shape in the thoracic, lumbar, and cervical spine, the function and structure of the disc also vary.

In the lumbar spine region, the main purpose of the intervertebral disc is to absorb shock and control compressive loads. It is important to note that the disc in any other part of the spine is not subjected to the same degree of compression because of the vertebral shape. This means that a disc issue in the lumbar spine is very different from a disc issue in the neck.



When the intervertebral disc is subjected to compressive load, the central portion (nucleus pulposus) tries to expand sideways but is restrained by the rings of the annulus fibrosus.

The annulus is an elastic structure, but is more rigid than the nucleus, and it resists the pressure to deform – much like if you picture the metal rings on a wooden beer keg.

The pressure in the disc varies according to the position of the spine and how long the position is maintained.

Many people find it surprising that the disc is placed under significant pressure when sitting – a daily occurrence for many. This can be a little surprising, as sitting may not feel like much effort. It does, however, place continuous compression upon the disc. That’s also why it’s a good idea to get up, move around & change positions regularly even if your job does not require it.

Forward Bending (Spinal Flexion)

Bending forwards causes the front section of the disc to be compressed while the back portion gets stretched.

If this motion is conducted in a repetitive manner, such as in jobs that involve bending or hobbies like gardening, this can cause damages to the annulus fibrosus fibres and can lead to degenerative disc disease.

Forward Bending / Twist (Spinal Flexion)

Forward bending or twisting is a very common motion for many of us throughout our lives. However, many people with back pain issues will attest that this position is the culprit behind acute and sharp lower back pain, hence many chronic back pain sufferers try their best to avoid this position. Workspace safety training advice, especially in modules such as manual handling, includes avoidance of bending the spine and instead using the legs to compensate.

Unfortunately, despite several years and decades of rigorous training, the prevalence of pain injuries in the workplace has not been reduced. Under normal conditions, our pelvis, hips, and spine are designed in such a way that they can withstand the pressure of twisting and bending.

If the back gives out suddenly, it usually means there has been an underlying joint change (which is often ignored) and usually stays under the radar. This change alters muscle control and joint mechanics, hence predisposing the pain to injury. The most common underlying factors include poor muscle control i.e. spine stiffness, hips and pelvis, trunk and/or hip joints muscle control.

Mostly, the result of repeated low-grade trauma doesn’t generate any conscious awareness or inflammation. The inner part of the disc doesn’t have any nerve supply, therefore it can’t generate any pain sensation. It is when the condition worsens over time that symptoms are usually felt.

Symptoms Of Disc Degeneration

Sciatica (nerve pain in the legs) is the most widely reported and recognized symptom of disc-related issues.

Some sciatica patients may also suffer from back pain, however, most of the cases are centred around leg pain. If the disc bulges but doesn’t compress any nerves, it may cause pain in the back region (primarily around the hip and buttocks section) and not down the leg.

If the disc itself is painful, it can produce a sensation of pain described as “deep” pain, and it may prove challenging to locate through the surface.

This pain may either be very sharp (it may be referred to as “nerve pain”) or it may present as a more generalised aching sensation that produces discomfort. A disc that is irritated but hasn’t yet prolapsed through the annulus fibrosus region may feel very vulnerable, similar to any other sprained structure like an ankle or knee ligament.

“Too much pressure” in the back region is another sensation often reported, and patients often report the need to lie down to ease the sensation.

Other Common Disc Degeneration Symptoms Include

  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain when sneezing or coughing
  • Pain during bending
  • Pain while lifting
  • Morning stiffness
  • Pain when turning in bed
  • Shoulders or hips shifted to one side (lateral shift)

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

Physiotherapy treatment options depend on the severity and stage of the condition. The first priority should be unloading the disc using support strapping, muscle activation, corrective exercises, or in some cases, a lumbar corset. It’s important to note that every effort should be made to prevent disc bulges from progressing to a full hernia, which requires surgical intervention. This is one of the main issues faced in using different techniques to “put the disc back”.

If the disc has shown some signs of recovery (which may take several days to several weeks), the next step in the rehabilitation process should be increasing movement, ensuring good postural muscular function, and increasing load tolerance with very carefully crafted and executed exercise sequences.

This is the most crucial part of the rehabilitation process and if it is not executed properly, it can easily cause a relapse.

Your Physiotherapist will prescribe exercise. This will be carefully and specifically selected, executed, and monitored.

In the final phase of the Physiotherapy rehabilitation process, all of the normal daily living tasks must be comfortable. The more advanced and challenging tasks related to your lifestyle should be incorporated into the physiotherapy rehabilitation program gradually.

For example, if your hobby is gardening, the physiotherapy rehabilitation program should focus on ensuring that your spine is fully capable of bending and tolerating that sustained position.

In some cases, this type of advanced flexibility might be problematic. For such cases, alternative ergonomic adaptations are required to facilitate the activity.

If the motive behind physiotherapist rehabilitation is to return to sporting activities such as tennis or golf, the advanced stages of rehab need to analyse the components that are involved in these activities, testing each one of these components in a controlled setting under proper supervision and then increasing the load to replicate the particular sport-specific activity.

Doing so requires your sports physiotherapy rehab process to involve a combination of specific manual therapies directed at the joints, coordinating the muscles, and specific corrective exercise, with some forms of simulated activity in a rehabilitation gym to prepare for the activities of daily life.

In summary, physiotherapy involves identifying and treating the painful structure and then addressing and treating the causative factors. Causative factors might be a combination of extrinsic factors (such as tools, workstation, time, position, breaks, etc.) and intrinsic factors (mechanics of the body). All of these elements need to be carefully assessed and treated by a qualified physiotherapist, which we offer here at DC Physiotherapy.

What Our Patients Say…

Had physio on my back and decompression on my neck , very happy with the service . The guys robbie and cian were very professional and friendly , really cared about how I was doing. This place comes highly recommended 👌read more
Anna Bolger
Anna Bolger
16:19 18 Oct 23
I've been with DC physio for the past few mths and I'm extremely impressed with their professionalism and the willing to help and listen to their patients, unlike most of the Health professions in this country ! When i went to them i couldn't drive or walk properly and was out of work due to a bulging disc (bearing in mind i work in a Hospital and couldnt even get physio there ) but the lads put me back together and im now on the road to recovery 😊. I've also referred some of my friends ! With sincere thanks lads 🙂read more
louise egar
louise egar
10:17 20 Sep 23
Same day appointment. Enda provided a 'most likely' diagnosis which seems to have been accurate. He gave detailed advice on managing the pain and how to move around, all of which has worked out as he advised. A short laser treatment and some massage was given. Good service. I got what I paid more
Patrick McHugh
Patrick McHugh
14:57 20 Jul 23
Highly recommended. I went there late January of this year with severe lower back pain. I met with Jamie who took a detailed history, he examined my back movements (which were non-existent at the time). I started non-surgical spinal decompression, and over the next couple of weeks I noticed a huge difference, not only pain wise, but that I was standing up straight again and not holding onto the wall for support. Jamie has given me daily exercises to help improve my core strength in order to protect my back. I'd highly recommend anyone suffering with pain to contact them. I willl definitely keep their number in my contact list!!Thank you Jamie and colleagues for all your hard work.Extremely professional, caring and more
Aoife Downey
Aoife Downey
16:50 17 May 23
I can’t recommend the spinal decompression at DC Physiotherapy enough. I can’t believe the improvement I’ve had from it.I had been in absolute agony with nerve pain and numerous visits with consultants and MRI’s taken showed a lot of damage and disc and nerve trouble and they were recommending surgery.I luckily came across an article about this and researched it and have been going to Jaime who was great at not pushing too hard with it at first and building it up and it’s improved so much and i havnt suffered with the awful nerve pain since. It’s improved my quality of life after just 4 sessions so i will continue the more
21:51 30 Apr 23

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