How common is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease

Long-lasting back pain can be the symptom of a condition affecting your spine. There are many different conditions that can cause pain in the spine. One of the most common is degenerative disc disease (DDD).

DDD is a condition that refers to the loss of strength and fullness in the discs that separate the vertebrae in your spine. These discs are supposed to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against one another and absorb shock from impacts. When DDD causes the discs to grow flat, they cannot effectively perform their duties.

What causes DDD?

DDD isn’t technically a disease, but it rather refers to the natural wearing down of the discs in the spine. The discs tend to grow flatter as you age. However, other conditions can spur a more rapid development of DDD, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Traumatic injury
  • Genetics

Who’s at risk for DDD?

DDD primarily affects people who are over the age of 40. It is a pretty common condition, as more than 40 percent of people 40-years-old or over have DDD. This ratio doubles in people who are over 80-years-old.

While aging is the primary cause of DDD, there are other factors that can increase the risks of developing DDD at a younger age. These include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Avoiding treatment for chronic back pain

Doctors will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if your back pain is related to DDD. An MRI may be used to help detect the signs of DDD in your spine. It’s important to gain an accurate diagnosis, so your doctor can begin to effectively treat your pain.

Visit Holland Physical therapy for treating DDD pain

Our physical therapists at Holland Physical Therapy are skilled in many methods for treating pain caused by DDD. Whether you’re in the early stages of DDD or have been affected by it for years, there is a physical therapy treatment for you.

Physical therapy treatments for DDD may include:

  • Stretching
  • Exercising
  • Manual therapy
  • Post-surgical therapy — in cases where surgery is necessary

Contact us today for more information about treating DDD or to schedule an initial appointment.