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Cervical Disc Degeneration Disease Treatment in Santa Barbara

massaging the neckDegenerative disc disease is a common condition that affects aging adults. The intervertebral discs serve as shock absorbers for the spine. Over time these discs can gradually dry out, affecting their strength and resiliency. As the degenerative process continues, the disc will begin to lose height and become stiff. This can lead to any number of problems and/or pain generators such as: decreased joint space, decreased range of motion, spinal/foraminal stenosis, joint inflammation, nerve impingement, and bone spurs. In severe cases, this pain can be constant.

Treatment of cervical DDD will depend on how acute the person’s symptoms are, and how much pain they are in. Timeframes and treatment protocols can vary greatly from person to person, but in general rehab can be viewed in 3 phases.


Phase 1: Pain control


  • Decrease pain, including improved sleep patterns
  • Manage inflammation
  • Improve passive range of motion (ROM) and tolerance to movement
  • Improve postural awareness, body mechanics and movement patterns

  • Rest
  • Soft collar
  • Modalities – Ice, Heat, Ultrasound, Electrical Stimulation Massage
  • Cervical decompression
  • Gentle stretching
  • Grade I mobilizations
  • Manual stretching, Manual traction, Shirt-pocket stretch

Phase 2: Stretching, Strengthening, Increasing ROM


  • Continue pain management as necessary
  • Increase AROM and PROM
  • Gradual return to functional activities
  • Restore functional movement patterns
  • Minimal pain associated with daily activities
  • Increase performance for home exercise program (HEP)

  • Continue modalities as needed Postural awareness exercises
  • Progress passive and active range of motion
  • Cervical decompression
  • Progress stretching program
  • Isometric strengthening exercises
  • Grades II – IV
  • Home traction, Shirt-pocket stretch, C-spine AROM, Scapula pinches, Shoulder shrugs, Pee stretch, Chin tucks, Cervical isometrics / multifidus recruitment,

Phase 3: Return to work and sports activities


  • Pain-free with all daily activities
  • Independent/self-management of HEP
  • Improve muscular strength and endurance
  • Gradual return to strenuous work
  • Gradual return to recreational sport activity

  • Progress strengthening exercises
  • Progress postural awareness exercises
  • Increase strength of surrounding musculature
  • Continue mobilizations as needed to help restore full ROM
  • Work and/or sport specific exercises
  • Home traction, Shirt-pocket stretch, Pee stretch, Cervical isometrics and isotonics in all planes, Seated rows, TIYW’s, Theraband – shoulder external rotation and extension, Work hardening exercises – specific to job requirements



Cervical Disc Degeneration Disease Treatment Santa Barbara, CA | (805) 565-5252