The debilitating of one or more vertebral discs, that usually functions as a buffer in the middle of two vertebrae is commonly called degenerative disc disease. This condition is one the most frequent cause of neck and lower back pain. This medical condition is usually attributed as a normal part of the aging process. Nevertheless, it can also be due to some form of back injury.
Degenerative disc disease usually starts when a small laceration appear in the disc panel, otherwise known as the annulus. These laceration or tears can and will result to pain and discomfort.
As the laceration or tear heals, it creates a scar tissue that is normally as sturdy or durable as the native tissue.
In the event that the back is frequently subjected to injury, the disc wall may continue to weaken and the procedure of scarring and tearing may also persist.
Over an extended period of time, the core (or middle) of the disc gets damaged which results to the leaking of its water content. The pulposus or the core of the disc and its water content is essential to maintain the disc’s functionality as a cushion or spring for the spinal column.
When the core or the nucleus of the disc fails to act as a cushion, the center of the disc collapses. This results to the sliding closer or rubbing together of the two vertebrae. The incorrect arrangement results to the facet joints – the place where the vertebral bones meet to wring or rotate into an unusual posture.
Over time, this unusual posture of the vertebrae will form bone spurs. Should these bone spurs develop inside the spinal canal, it will narrow the canal resulting to the pinching of the spinal cord and nerves which is a condition also known as spinal stenosis.