Chiropractic Adjustment for Degenerative Disc Disease

ProActive Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments for pain from degenerative disc disease in San Francisco CA. 

  • Herniated disc or slipped disc
  • Disc bulge
  • Disc protrusion
  • Disc extrusion
  • Disc sequestration
  • Annular tears
  • Wear-and-Tear


There are normally 25 discs in the human spine: 7 in the cervical spine (neck), 12 in the thoracic spine (mid-back), 5 in the lumbar spine (low back), and 1 in the sacral region. They are located between the vertebra of the spine. These circular discs are composed of three main parts: an annulus fibrosus (outer portion), a nucleus pulposus (inner portion), and the cartilaginous endplates.

The annulus fibrosus is the dense-like, outermost layer of the disc and serves mainly to protect the nucleus pulposus. It is made up of rings of fibrocartilage fibers (laminae), which consists of type I and type II collagen that can endure a great amount of compressive force.

The nucleus pulposus is the gel-like core of the disc and is made up of about 80% of water, type II collagen, and proteoglycans (retains water and helps the nucleus pulposus maintain it’s gel-like consistency). It helps the spine stay flexible under stress and resist compression by distributing the load on the spine evenly between the three structures inside the disc.

Cartilaginous endplates provide nutrient transport for the disc and are located between the vertebral endplate and the nucleus pulposus.


Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition in which the discs between the vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) shrink and get thinner over time. It sounds scary and is more intimidating as it progresses, but to be completely honest, it is just normal wear and tear of the body. It is not a disease, but more of a condition that can be reversed.

Everyone experiences a disc herniation. Your chiropractor has experienced or probably has a disc bulge or multiple disc bulges right now. Your friend, your mom, you dad, your significant other, your child, your sibling, your pet, EVERYONE has had a disc bulge or has one at this very moment. Do not be scared of the terms disc bulge, disc herniation, or degenerative disc disease! Do you age everyday? Do you sit at a desk for work? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any or both of these questions, we hate to break it to you, but most likely than not, you have some degree of a disc bulge.

Studies have shown that most disc bulges are asymptomatic. More recent research utilizing MRI imaging shows that most disc herniations will reabsorb itself within 6 months with no treatment, but can be expedited with chiropractic care or physical therapy.

Discs do not receive nutrients through a blood supply like the rest of our body. Instead, they receive nutrients through movement. Spinal mobility pulls water and nutrients into the discs through an osmotic process called imbibition. The increase in this process is key to keeping our disc healthy and avoiding pain.

The discs serve as shock absorbers in our spines and spacers between the vertebrae for the nerves to easily exit the spine freely without interference. The disc is subject to degeneration or dehydration over time, which decreases imbibition. To rehydrate the disc and fix any type of herniation, we simply need to increase ambition. Remember that imbibition is facilitated with movement, so long story short – movement is life! Making sure we have pumped up discs will keep our spinal cord and nerves from being poked, which keeps us pain-free and away from the scarier types of disc herniations.


We are never going to lie to you. So, unfortunately, we probably will not be able to tell you exactly how you got your herniated disc or slipped disc unless you have a very specific traumatic event you could tell us about. However, we can explain how a disc can lose its integrity and how to fix it and keep it from being painful or coming back.

Our chiropractors have the experience, knowledge, and tools to increase nutrients into the disc. They use a holistic, patient-centered, full-bodied approach that is backed by evidence based research to get you moving again.

Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT):

We hear too often that a patient is scared to go to a chiropractor because of their herniated disc. The fear of making it worse is usually the culprit. But remember imbibition? The only way to hydrate or reabsorb our disc is through movement. What’s easier than getting a treatment where your chiropractor does all the moving for you?!

Our specialty is manual adjustments. We are experienced in high velocity, low amplitude manipulations to the joints of the body to deliver the most comfortable and effective adjustments. Have a ‘hot neck or back” or acute pain? We’ve got our comfortable one of a kind air compressor drop table and activators for that! Experience movement without having to move!

Scientific evidence proves that chiropractic techniques help patients by restoring joint mobility to provide proper functional movement patterns and balance out the nervous system. This decreases spasms, stiffness, and pain while promoting optimal health.

We have many options to address the structural components that contribute to your pain. We always consider our patient’s preferences first, so when it comes to corrective adjustments, we provide a variety of methods to achieve this goal.

Graston Technique and Fibroblaster Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) Tools:

When joints get stuck, the soft tissue structures around them suffer as well. When the muscles and connective tissues around the joint and discs are not moving and gliding along each other, scar tissue and fascial distortion occurs. We have multiple tools of different sizes and shapes to help address these issues.

Graston is a patent protected, innovative instrument that assists in soft-tissue mobilization, improving flexibility, and decreasing pain by effectively breaking down fascial restrictions and removing scar tissue between muscles. Proactive Chiropractic is Graston certified and a Preferred Provider®.

Fibroblaster IASTM Tools help our doctors diagnose and treat patients by providing controlled microtrauma to break scar tissue and fascial restrictions to restore full range of motion to keep you in the game.

Therapeutic Exercises: 

Our journey to improve your health and wellness does not stop when you leave the office. At ProActive Chiropractic, we honor a mutual collaborative effort by our doctors and you, our patients. While in our office, we believe it is our job to manually correct the underlying source of your pain by adjusting and performing techniques that you would not be able to do on your own. We then encourage you to perform customized rehabilitative exercises at home, in the office, or at the gym to better hold the adjustments made and strengthen areas of degeneration. We believe in a team approach where the doctors will align and balance patients on the table, and patients do their part in building the right habits, muscles, and strength to hold those adjustments. These specific exercises help relax painfully tight muscles and build strength to key muscle groups which are imperative for spinal support.

We will teach you the safe and effective exercises and stretches that will help bring nutrients into your disc to free your nerves and relieve your pain.

Denneroll Neck Orthotic:

In addition to the hands-on services provided in the office, we also offer clinically proven products shown to reverse the damaging effects of trauma, age, and bad posture. The Denneroll is one of them.

Normally, your cervical spine should be presented with a healthy curve (similar to a wide shaped “C”) that points toward the front of your body, called a lordosis. This allows our nerves, ligaments, and muscles to function properly. When we lose that cervical lordosis structure and our necks become more straight, it is considered an abnormal cervical lordosis or reversal of cervical lordosis. This can happen as a result of age, repetitive slouching, spending too much time in front of electronics in a sustained position, trauma, and even stress. It causes unwanted muscle discomfort and degeneration of discs, which can lead to nerve issues.

Numerous evidence-based studies have proven that correcting abnormal cervical lordosis will alleviate pain and muscle tension, while enhancing posture, comfort, and overall health. The Denneroll helps facilitate normal cervical lordosis to help create balance between the nerves, ligaments, muscles, and joints of your upper body; and relieve discs from extra loaded stress. It is a great tool in conjunction with chiropractic care because it helps keep your adjustments longer to keep you feeling pain-free and back to work, back to play.

Posture Pointers: 

Your posture can be affected by degenerative disc disease and pain. We often want to stay away from the side of our pain, leaving us in an antalgic position.

The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic take the time to educate patients on proper posture and how to achieve it. We analyze patients’ posture and functional movement mechanics, address the under and overcompensated muscles and structures to allow for proper range of motion and movement, and give patients the correct postural exercises to address the deep muscles that support the skeletal system.


Each new patient in our office will receive a comprehensive posture evaluation and 3-dimensional foot scan, revealing potential hidden problems that could go unnoticed. In addition, we offer virtual ergonomic assessments at a much lower cost than a traditional in-office ergonomic assessment with a full printout of findings and recommendations for you to keep.

Equally important to diet and exercise, understanding how your body is commonly positioned against gravity can help doctors find the underlying issue with chronic pain.

Proper ergonomics allows for better productivity, promotes great posture, lessens fatigue, and decreases the pain that comes from repeated movements.


Although we do not have an on-site imaging center, we are partnered with Radnet and SimonMed for all of your X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, and Ultrasound needs!

The gold standard in diagnosing degenerative disc disease is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It allows us to see a decrease in disc height and Schmorl nodes, which are hallmark indicators of this condition. It will allow us to define the degree of the bulge to give you a better estimate at how long your care plan will be.

Our overall goal is to get you pain-free as soon as possible.  Get well versed sports chiropractic treatment in the San Francisco Financial District area. Call 415-762-8141 or schedule an appointment online now.