Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition that occurs when the intervertebral discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine start to break down and deteriorate over time. The intervertebral discs are made up of a soft, gel-like center (the nucleus pulposus) surrounded by a tough outer layer (the annulus fibrosus).
As we age, the discs lose water content and elasticity, which can lead to tears in the annulus fibrosus and bulging or herniated discs. These changes can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the spine.
Degenerative disc disease can also be caused by injuries to the spine, such as from lifting heavy objects or participating in high-impact activities.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease can include:
Treatment for degenerative disc disease can include: