Get weekly discount codes 
by email

Sign up and we’ll send exclusive discounts, new products and more straight to your email address.


Unsubscribe at any time. T&Cs apply.

Things to Consider if you have Degenerative Disc Disease

May 22, 2024 -
man leaning on a tree and holding his back while out walking

About 50 percent of our body weight is supported by the spine, and as we get older, some wear and tear is inevitable. In fact, 90 percent of over-50s have some degeneration in the spinal discs.

Degenerative disc disease is when this natural wear and tear causes pain and leads to mobility issues.  

The human spine is one of the most complex anatomical structures. It provides structural support for the whole body, allowing us to stand upright. It also protects the spinal cord.

The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae connected to the spinal column. These vertebrae are separated by spinal discs, which act like shock absorbers and help your back stay flexible, allowing you to bend and twist.

The most common cause of degenerative disc disease is the discs drying out or cracking. This process is inevitable to a certain extent but does not always present a problem or cause pain.

Additional risk factors that can cause or make worse the condition include back injury, heavy lifting, obesity and smoking. There is also some genetic propensity, so if your parents had back trouble in old age, there’s a good chance you might do to.

Degenerative disc disease symptoms

People with degenerative disc disease feel pain in the back or neck. The type or location of the pain depends which discs are affected, but in 90 percent of cases, it is in the lumbar, the lower five vertebrae.

However, pain and discomfort is not always localised. It can spread to other areas if the degenerated disc compresses the nerves in your spine. If that happens, pain can travel to other parts of your body.

The most common consequence is numbness and tingling in the arms and legs. In severe cases it can also lead to wasting of the leg muscles.

Most people with degenerative disc disease find that the pain feels worse when sitting and is eased by walking around. Some people feel sudden twinges when they bend, lift or twist.

The pain can often be relieved by changing position or lying down. Pain can be severe, but is not usually constant, as it is only triggered when the bone around the affected disc becomes unstable.

Choosing mobility aids to help with degenerative disc disease

A generation ago, back trouble was seen as part and parcel of getting older. That is still true to a certain extent, but today, we understand more about what is causing the trouble and how to ease the symptoms.

Chiropractic therapies can combat the severity and frequency of flare-ups. Meanwhile the following mobility aids help people with degenerative disc disease to get around and carry out routine daily tasks in safety and comfort.

Walking sticks and canes – the most commonly used and popular mobility aid, a cane or walking stick unobtrusively provides that little bit of extra support, and is perfect for people with milder cases of degenerative disc disease. Pictured: ColourMax Folding Walker.

Walkers and rollators – a walker can support more of the upper body weight than a stick, so it relieves the spine of more strain. Walkers are commonly used by people with moderate to severe symptoms and they come in various types. A rollator is a special type of wheeled walker that provides optimum support. Some even come with handy features like a seat or a shopping basket.

Wheelchairs – in severe cases of degenerative disc disease, it becomes too painful to walk further than short distances, even with mobility aids. That doesn’t have to affect your ability to go where you want when you want. A self-propelled manual wheelchair requires upper body strength, but a powerchair can be used by anyone and is easy to operate.

Bathroom aids the back pain associated with degenerative disc disease can make you less steady on your feet, and more slips and falls happen in the bathroom than any other room. Yet that is the one place where we least want to ask for help. Bathroom aids like raised toilet seats, grab handles and slip-proof mats are inexpensive but can make all the difference.

Riser recliners – the simple act of sitting in or rising from an armchair can become a painful leap of faith when you have degenerative disc disease. A riser recliner helps you sit and stand gently, safely and comfortably, and then to find the most comfortable position.

Living with degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is a common type of back trouble that gets worse over time. Choosing the right mobility aids is important, but so is periodically reviewing what you have, to make sure it continues to meet your changing needs.

Your doctor or physical therapist can provide useful advice, both for choosing the right mobility aids and managing your symptoms effectively.

Jon Wade
Jon Wade

Jon has been working at CareCo since 2019. He uses his extensive product knowledge to provide insights and advice on the best mobility aids for every occasion.

Previous Article
Next Article
Related posts