Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is one of the most common causes of low back pain, and also one of the most misunderstood.  Many patients, diagnosed with low back pain caused by DDD, are left wondering exactly what this diagnosis means for them.  DDD involves the intervertebral discs which are pillow-like cushions in between your vertebrae. They assist in the carrying of weight and allow for complex motions of your spine while maintaining stability. As you age, discs begin to lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock absorbing capabilities. They dehydrate and, as a result, start to thin.  This may result in the sensation of your back becoming stiff as your movement causes pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease is not actually a disease. It is a result of a normal wear and tear process caused by the aging on your spine. People with DDD may or may not experience chronic pain and they may have occasional flare-ups of pain. DDD can be associated with other spinal conditions, such as, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Smokers are more likely to be affected by DDD. People who do heavy lifting are more likely to be affected by DDD. Degenerative Disc Disease rarely requires surgery.