Degenerative disc disease is referred to typical wear and tear in the vertebral or spinal discs that occur with age. Most health professionals don’t even consider it as a disease but a normal accompaniment of growing old, however, even young people in their 20s or 30s may have early onset of these changes in their spines. People more at risk are overweight, smokers, who lift heavy weights, or those sustaining injury to spinal discs.
Spinal discs are the soft, compressible, pillow-like cushions present between your vertebras, hence, given the name intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock absorbers while you turn, twist, bend your neck and back or lift weights. Together with the vertebra, these discs form a secure tunnel; the spinal canal for passage of spinal cord and spinal nerves. With increasing age, spinal discs become thin as they dehydrate and lose their flexibility, softness, and shock absorbing abilities. Degenerative disc disease can affect any part of the spine but more commonly involved are cervical (neck) and lumbar (back) spine.