In all that we know about back pain, disc herniations, useless x-rays, and chronic pain, degeneration is a non-issue. As a chiropractor, patients always come to me being worried about the degenerative changes in their spine. Here is the good news — you absolutely don’t have to worry about it.
“Your spine is fragile” is alarmist BS.
The Dr. Oz Show would like you to believe that your spine is a weak, easily damaged structure. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In his 60-Second Back Pain Fixes segment, he used donuts to demonstrate how your spinal discs will start spewing jelly when under pressure. However, sensational TV content to sell ad space should not be confused as science.
According to a 2010 paper, it takes 335kg of force to compress your spinal disc by just ONE millimetre. Yes, you heard that right — 335kg of force, 1mm.
If you are older (~70 years old), it will still take a good 200+kg of force.
Trust me, your spine is innately robust. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Degenerative changes is like wrinkles. You have more as you age.
I love research because it really gives you a good idea of what things are truly like in the real world.
A landmark study of 3110 asymptomatic individuals, found that 37% of people in their 20s and WITHOUT pain have spinal degeneration. This number goes up to a whopping 96% by the time you reach your 80s.
We still don’t really know for sure why people get degeneration in their spine. What we do know is that it’s almost impossible for it to be the reason you have pain.
Have a think of your white hair or wrinkles, do they give you pain?
Does botoxing your wrinkles mean you are less likely to have facial pain?
You think may these are ridiculous questions but they do show that you can have degeneration without pain or injury.
Science is tell us today that the degeneration is your spine is a NORMAL progression of ageing. So much so that “wear and tear” narrative has been debunked as “archaic, pejorative, and inaccurate“.
Your degeneration won’t be a problem in the future.
Just last year, Spine — the world’s most prestigious journal on spinal health — published the results of a THIRTY year study.
The researchers followed a group of 75 participants to see what happen to their spines over time. While it is true that early degeneration led to more disc degeneration in the future, they did not have more pain!
So, if you have been diagnosed with degenerated discs, your spinal discs will most likely degenerate faster. However, you don’t have more pain, more disability, or any other clinical symptoms.
This makes sense right? If your hair started greying when you are in your 20s, you are likely to have more grey hair than your peers when you are in your 50s.
This doesn’t mean you are going to get more headaches because of the extra white hair!
Chronic pain is not due to on-going tissue damage.
I know, I know. It is a lot to take in.
If your pain has lasted for more than 12-weeks, it is chronic. Even if it comes and goes during that time, it is still chronic.
That is not to say that your pain it is not real. It is to say that it is a complex experience that is often the result of multiple factors.
It is not intuitive, I do agree. And it is okay if you cannot accept it yet.
If you are sick and tired of your pain coming back over and over again, book an appointment with us and let us show you your true freedom from pain.
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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.