The term Degenerative Disc Disease is a little misleading, it is not a disease at all and you don’t have to worry about catching it. What it is, is a degenerative process that occurs in the back as we get older and can lead to pain, weakness, numbness, and a decrease in your back’s range of motion. While this is something you cannot avoid, it will happen to all of us, there are things that you can do in your life to limit its impact on your spine (kyphosis definition).
We all get older, there is no way to avoid it, and like the rest of our body the spine ages as well. Your intervertebral discs can start to lose their moisture causing them to thin and become brittle and less able to absorb the daily trauma that you put your spine through every day. This would go on to effect the way you sit, stand, walk, or go about your daily activities. These discs are also used to keep the vertebrae separated and as they thin out it could cause the bones to rub together and form bone spurs.
Weakened discs can also increase the risks of other back conditions occurring such as spinal stenosis, scoliosis, herniated discs, facet arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Degenerative Disc Disease Causes
While age is a major cause for degenerative disc disease it is not the only thing that can cause this process to begin.
Those who are overweight are at an increase chance of developing this condition, this is because the heavier you are the more stress and strain you place on your back causing it to age prematurely. When this weight is mainly located on the belly it increases this stress and strain by pulling your spine forward. This is why weight loss when you have back pain is a priority.
These would include falls, sports accidents, sports activities such as football, rugby or weightlifting, or accidents that would impact the back can all damage the discs in our spine. While this disease is mostly seen in those who are older an injury or trauma to the back can cause this degenerative disease to start up in someone as young as 20.
If there are those in your family with this condition you are at a greater risk of developing this disease yourself.
Smoking is not just bad for your lungs; it can also impact the health of your spine. Studies have shown that smokers are more susceptible to problems that are associated with the intervertebral discs in the spine. This is because smoking can not only decrease the amount of fluid in the discs but the toxins also make it harder for the discs to absorb nutrients from the body causing them to weaken.