What is degenerative disc disease?

DDD. In short, it is normal wear and tear of the vertebrae and discs without evidence of a more precise pathology such as neural impingement , inflammation, spondylolisthesis, dish, etc.
Radiologic Term. Probably most popular "diagnosis" doctors use as speculative causation of low back pain generation. "ddd" is term commonly taken from radiologic reports when doctors need diagnosis otherwise undiscovered. Medical literature correlating chronic low back pain with ddd is sparse. Most people with ddd do not have pain. Up to 30% chronic low back pain from sacroiliac joint, largest axial spine joint.
Wear and tear. Since we are bipeds and walk upright, our discs support a great deal of pressure. Over time the support fibers (annulous fibrosis) may fray or split allowing the internal disc contents to bulge or protrude. The space between the vertebrae may narrow, and the disc may dry out or dessicate. This eventuates in pain and stiffness.

Related Questions

What happens with degenerative disc disease?

Collapse. Discs lose water content and sponginess. More load on the facets causing them to hypertrophy. This in turn leads to more nerve root compromise. May ultimately end with need for surgical intervention. Read more...

What are options with degenerative disc disease?

Multiple . If no pain, don't worry about it otherwise: exercise, keep your weight down and do not smoke if you have that habit. Sometimes use of medication can be indicated ranging from over the counter to prescription ones. Getting a good night's sleep in a decent mattress can help. Read more...
Therapy, medications. Initial treatments for ddd and osteoarthritis of the spine include physical therapy, massage, medications. Some try acupuncture or chiropractic manipulation. If symptoms are more severe, consider pain management for stronger medications. Sometimes, despite all these treatments, symptoms are still there. See your doctor first. Consider an evaluation by a spine surgeon to discuss surgery. Read more...

What medicines help with degenerative disc disease?

A variety. Of non steroidal anti inflammatory medication as long as there are no contraindications like allergies, use of blood thinners, kidney or liver disease or ulcer/reflux issues . Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an option. Other types of drugs like cymbalta, Elavil and neurontin/lyrica may also help. Ideally, not smoking, regular exercise and weight control are also helpful. Good levels of vitamin d also are important. Read more...

What can cause lumbar degenerative disc disease? Had no trauma, exercise 4-5 x/week (aerobics), don't smoke, healthy weight, eat well, no family hx

DDD. After the age of 35, the water and protein content of the cartilage of the body changes. this may cause the gradual deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae is referred to as degenerative disc disease. Usually a combination of treatments is used to help manage the disorder. Most patients treated with non-surgical treatments, but in some cases surgery is necessary. Read more...
Wear and tear. Glad you regularly exercise as strength and stretching will minimize ongoing arthritic changes. A physical therapist could assist if gets worse. Read more...

What is the treatment for degenerative disc disease?

Non-surgical treat. Best to avoid surgery, if possible. Use of physical therapy, massage, exercise, muscle relaxants, and pain meds can all play a role. Acupuncture may help control the pain, and both osteopaths and chiropractors may assist rehab steps. Read more...
Depends on symptoms. Degenerative disc disease, is a misnomer -- and not a disease. Just normal wear & tear that occurs w/ age -- it typically starts in the 2nd decade of life, everyone experiences this--equivalent to skin wrinkles (:degenerative skin disease"), gray hair ("degenerative hair disease"). In of itself needs no treatment. If symptoms present, ask your spine surgeon to guide you through finding the source. Read more...

Can I have degenerative disc disease?

Yes. Living in florida and being 39 you can be developing osteoarthritis of the spine. You can tell from plain x-rays. Are the vertebral bodies getting close togeather at any level and are there bony overgrowths seen like in this photo ? This is the lumbar spine (low back). Read more...