The neck is subjected to degenerative disc disease due to lack of blood flow to the disc and it tends to wear down, through acute and chronic trauma to the area. The neck and disc tend to wear thin over time, such as your teeth can degenerate without brushing and flossing. Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) has multiple phases, phase 1 is a loss of spinal disc height, loss of range of motion and loss of curve in the neck. Phase 2 of disc degeneration shows roughening of the bone, known as osteophytes and bone spurs and loss of range of motion over 50%. Phase 3 of degeneration is total joint fusion and permanent loss of range of motion, sometimes this is noted with a hunchback. Degeneration is noted usually with x-rays and MRI’s. The key to DDD is preventing it from getting it to phase 3. Chiropractic adjustments, active release technique, and exercises can help at preventing disc degeneration from getting worse and even in some cases has reversed DDD from one phase to another.
Disc bulges are when a portion of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, tears through the external fibers called the annular fibers of the disc. This nucleus pulposus is sticking out into the spinal canal space and may sometimes hit the spinal cord itself. The difference between a bulge and a herniation is the nucleus pulposus has torn through the annular fibers but not the last fiber so that the liquid is fully sticking out. With a bulge manual traction and low force chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial for those suffering with disc bulges.