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Technically, degeneration of the intervertebral disc, often
called "degenerative disc disease" (DDD) of the spine can
cause severe back pain and can greatly affect the quality
of your life.
For most people, disc
degeneration is a normal part of aging & isn't necessarily a
problem. For others, degenerated disc can cause severe, constant
Your lower back (Lumbar
vertebrae) and your neck (Cervical vertebrae) are normally the
areas of your spine that will send you to a pain doctor.
These areas are more susceptible to chronic pain due to Disc
Degeneration than other areas of your spine.
In truth, this condition is not always degenerative and is not really
- Part of the confusion is caused by
term "degenerative", which implies that your back
will get worse with time. The term applies to the disc
degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms it causes.
Disc degeneration is more likely to progress over time, but the low
back pain from degenerative disc disease does not always get worse
and in fact can get better, if treated properly over time.
- Another source of confusion is
caused by the term "disease", Degenerative
disc disease is not really a disease, it's a degenerative condition
that can produce pain from a damaged disc.
disease is a term used to describe the normal changes in your
spinal discs as you age.
Spinal discs are soft,
compressible discs that separate the 33 interlocking bones (your
vertebrae) that make up your spine. The discs act like shock
absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist.
Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine,
but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back and the
Index of Chronic Pain Management