As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc
disease. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs separating the interlocking bones
(vertebrae) that make up the spine, acting as shock absorbers for the spine while providing
flexibility. Age-related changes may cause loss of fluid in the discs, or tiny tears
or cracks in the outer layer of the disc.
Degenerative disc disease may occur throughout the spine area, but commonly affects
the discs located at the lower back and neck areas, resulting in pain.
Degenerative disc disease, if left untreated, may lead to conditions such as osteoarthritis,
slipped disc, or spinal stenosis. Symptoms include numbness or tingling at the arm or
leg area, back or neck pain, limitation in activities due to pain (which often gets worse
with movements such as reaching up or bending over), and twisting.
To diagnose degenerative disc disease, your doctor may perform a physical examination and
prescribe imaging tests. Treatment includes medication and physiotherapy or strengthening
exercises if other health problems are present. Talk to your doctor to find out more
treatment options and
sports rehabilitation services available.