The Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease, which can include desiccation of disc, could be extremely painful. This condition could cause pain that is either mechanical in nature or inflammatory in nature. While mechanical pain will be the result of the compression of nerve roots when there is disc space compression or herniation, inflammatory pain will be the result of a release of chemicals that end up irritating nerve endings.

To learn about what can cause degenerative disc disease, continue reading. And if you start experiencing any symptoms of this condition, be sure to see your doctor for prompt treatment.


Degenerative disc disease is often the result of the typical changes that occur within the spinal discs as you get older. In other words, it is a condition that could result simply because of natural aging.

Basically, when you are born, the intervertebral discs in your spine are composed of roughly 80% water, most of which is found within the nucleus pulposus. They are also composed of proteins and collagen. The fluid provides shock absorption so you can move around pain-free. As you get older, though, your discs will end up losing that water content, and they might even get thinner. As a result, the shape and strength of the discs will be changed, and you will eventually feel pain along with other symptoms.


As is the case with so many other medical conditions, your genetics may also play a role in your odds of developing degenerative disc disease. In other words, your genes might end up increasing or decreasing your risk of eventually being diagnosed with this problem. For example, if you are predisposed to developing excessive disc and joint wear and tear, your odds of having degenerative disc disease at some point in your life will be higher. And if someone else in your family either has or has had degenerative disc disease, it is possible that you may also develop it at some point as well.


Another one of the common causes of degenerative disc disease is injury or some other form of trauma. If you hurt your back through an acute and sudden injury that causes a herniated disc, as an example, you may end up developing this condition. So even just falling and hurting your back has the potential to start this process of degeneration in your spine.


Your lifestyle could also play a part in whether or not you end up with degenerative disc disease. For example, if you smoke, your habit could be doing harm to the discs in your spine, causing faster degeneration while reducing the amount of water that is found within them.

With a better understanding of what degenerative disc disease is, what causes it, and what you can do every day to try to prevent it, you can take more control over the health of your spine. Although this condition may arise because of age, taking care of your back, being gentle with your body, and leading a healthy lifestyle might help to reduce the odds that you will end up with pain and less mobility as you get older.  

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