What causes degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative Disc Disease

You are able to bend and twist your spine thanks to the performance of your vertebrae and discs. The vertebrae are the individual sections of the spine that protect the nerves running from your head throughout your body. The discs are soft cushions that rest between your vertebrae.

These discs are responsible for preventing friction from wearing down the vertebrae and from shock that can crack the vertebrae. The discs are like gel packets. They are soft on the inside and have a tough, flexible shell.

Conditions that cause these damage to these discs can result in chronic back pain and loss of motion. One such condition is degenerative disc disease (DDD).

What is DDD?

DDD isn’t a disease in the sense that it’s an infection or genetic defect. Although these can be causes of DDD, the condition itself refers to the natural wear and tear of the discs in your spine.

DDD causes the discs to grow flatter and less flexible. This can result in pain and loss of motion.

DDD affects everyone differently. Some people experience little to no pain while others suffer from prolonged, severe pain.

What are the causes of DDD?

The main cause of DDD is aging. As we grow older, our bodies experience more wear and tear that makes it difficult to stay strong, fast and flexible. Your spine is no exception. You can help prevent DDD from setting in by taking care of your body and drinking lots of water, which helps make up the fluid in the discs.

A few risk factors can increase the chances of suffering from DDD earlier in life and at a faster rate of progression. These can include:

  • Obesity — Being overweight puts strain and pressure on your spine that can cause the discs to wear out faster.

  • Traumatic injury — An impact to the spine from an incident such as a car accident or a fall can cause DDD to set in earlier.

  • Lack of exercise — Lack of exercise and sitting for prolonged periods of time contribute to the progression of DDD.

Contact Holland Physical Therapy for degenerative disc disease treatment

Our physical therapists at Holland Physical Therapy can help reduce your DDD pain. Our team can guide you through stretches, exercises and other techniques that can help support your spine and reduce pain and pressure from the vertebrae. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.