FAQ032: What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease, DDD, arthritis of the spine

Degenerative disc disease or DDD is a type of arthritis in the spine. It is caused by a narrowing of the discs between the bones in the spine (called the vertebrae). Unfortunately, as we get older, gravity can be more of a foe than a friend. This narrowing can be one of the reasons why we get shorter as we get older.

DDD is a normal part of the aging process

Narrowing of the discs in the spine happens to everyone as we get older. It is because we have water in the disc of our spine. As we get older, we are less efficient and we end up not having all the water return. It causes a narrowing. Most people with degenerative disc disease don’t experience any pain from it. Others do. We aren’t exactly sure why that is

The Signs and Symptoms of DDD

For those whose arthritis is a source of pain for them there are some telltale signs. The hallmark signs of DDD are stiffness and pain. The stiffness comes especially in the morning or if you’ve been sitting awhile. Just because you have DDD does NOT mean you are doomed to have back pain for life. We can talk more about that later *teaser*. Even with severe arthritis, exercise can be the answer.

Remember, even with back pain, it’s important to keep the rest of your body healthy like your heart!

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Christina Prevett

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