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 of Schenectady, P.C.
Injury Prevention Tips and News

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Did you know, that October is National Physical Therapy Month? Thanks to all of our current and former patients for their continued support.
   Office Locations
1533 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12309
(518) 381-9166
42 Saratoga Rd.
Glenville,NY 12302
(518) 399-6861
3434 Carman Rd.
Schenectady, NY 12303
(518) 356-7445
Clifton Park
17 Halfmoon Executive  Park  Dr.
Clifton Park, NY 12065
(518) 371-6777
1182 Troy Schenectady Rd
Suite LL02
Latham, NY 12110
1 Conway Court
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 273-2715
West Sand Lake
43 Mall
West Sand Lake, NY 12196
(518) 674-1744  

178 Clizbe Ave 
Amsterdam, NY 12010
(518) 842-1425
Tamarac Plaza
PO Box 118
3991 State Rte. 2
Cropseyville, NY 12052
(518) 279-4610

Ballston Spa
220 Church Ave.
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
(518) 885-1541

Hand Therapy at Guilderland Accepting New Patients
Located within our Rotterdam/Guilderland office is Hand Therapy at Guilderland. Sheryl Sturn OTR/L, CHT is available for all hand therapy needs.
Call 630-6167
to schedule an appointment.



September 2012 
What is Degenerative Disc Disease?   


    First of all, degenerative disc disease is not truly a disease. It is a poor choice of wording for this condition. A better term could be degenerative disc disorder. The discs in our spine are located between the vertebra (bones). This picture shows degenerative changes in the lumbar spine (low back).

As we age our discs go through changes. The nucleus (gel like substance) or the central portion begins to dry up causing loss of height of the disc. The rings of cartilage that hold the nucleus in place begin to separate and leads to further loss of disc height. Loss of disc height places  greater stress on the joints of the spine and leads to degenerative changes of the joints themselves. Loss of disc height can also lead to spinal stenosis. Spinal        stenosis is narrowing of the openings for the nerves that exit from our spinal cord. This can lead to nerve compression and cause pain and or weakness in our limbs. For the most part, everyone's spine goes through these changes to varying degrees. However not everyone with degenerative changes in their spine exhibit symptoms. Some people with MRI evidence of degenerative changes are asymptomatic. This is also not solely a disease of aging. Some individuals start having degenerative changes in their spine in their late 30's or early 40's. This may be due to genetic predisposition.  Other causes are trauma to the spine and previous surgery on the spine. Interestingly, smoking has also been linked to causing DDD. 

Symptoms of DDD include low back or neck pain, joint stiffness with loss of range of motion, referred pain into the limbs, or numbness and tingling in the limbs.  

Physical Therapy Management of Degenerative Disc Disorder 


     Physical therapists often prescribe exercises for pain control. Exercise prescription will vary depending on the nature of a patients complaints and how their particular symptoms respond to activity and exercise in general. Other modalities such as heat/cold, TENS, and traction may be considered. Usually these treatments provide temporary relief of a patients symptoms, but when used in conjunction with exercise may have some benefit. Our joints were designed to move so exercise and activity are important for aiding in restoration of function. Below are examples of some exercises that might be prescribed for DDD. These are only suggestions and are not meant to replace a physical therapy consultation. Check with your PT before starting any of these exercises.


1) Flexion in Lying  

Lay on your back, pull both kness to chest as shown. Hold 3seconds. Repeat 10-12 times 3x per day. Typically (but not always) this exercise is useful if your pain is worse with walking or standing but you have no difficulty bending backwards.  















2) Extension in Lying

Lay on your stomach as shown. Slowly use your arms to push chest away from floor while keeping your hips down. You want to feel your back arch. Pause at the top of the motion. Return to start position. Perform 10-12 reps 3x per day. Typically (but not always) this exercise is useful if you have more pain with sitting or bending forward and are stiff in back bending.

















3) Hip Flexor Stretch

Assume a half  kneel position as shown. Gently shift weight forward on to front leg until you feel a stretch in the front of your back thigh/groin/hip. Pause and hold for up to 10 seconds. DO NOT BOUNCE. Keep your spine straight. Return to start position. Do 6-8 reps per side daily. This exercise may be beneficial if you have difficulty standing up straight or if you walk with a slightly stooped gait. 



We Want To Hear From You 
We want our newsletter to be specific to the needs of our clients. We would like your help to do this. Please feel free to email any requests for specific topics to be addressed or questions you might have regarding physical therapy and we will do our best to address them in upcoming newsletters. Email requests to ptrotterdam@aol.com attn. Kevin.