Degenerative disc disease is characterized by the wearing down of the spinal discs, which are rubbery cushions located between the vertebrae (bones in the spinal column). Spinal discs act as shock absorbers and support movement and flexibility. Spinal discs degenerate over time and the process is a normal part of aging.
When the cushions wear away, the bones can start to rub together, causing pain and other problems, such as:
The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease are neck pain and back pain that may:
It’s normal for spinal discs to wear down as part of aging. Disc degeneration is especially common after age 40. However, not everyone experiences pain during this process.
The condition may cause pain if the spinal discs: