A Look at the Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

mri of lower back

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common health concern that progressively compromises the structure and function of the intervertebral discs. While some patients with this condition may not be symptomatic right away, DDD can eventually impair the flexibility of the spine and lead to a variety of other symptoms. If you are suffering from DDD, read on to learn more about the causes, risk factors, and symptoms associated with this condition.

Causes of DDD

The intervertebral discs are responsible for providing structural support and flexibility to the spine. In someone with DDD, these discs begin to lose their structure and become dehydrated, losing their shock-absorbing ability and structural integrity. In some cases, the disc can even suffer cracks and tears that may lead to herniation of the disc’s core.

Who Is At Risk?

Although anyone can suffer from the symptoms of degenerative disc disease, there are some factors that can hasten the development of the condition. Obesity, for example, places increased stress on the intervertebral discs and other joints of the spine. Those who smoke cigarettes seem to be at a higher risk for DDD. Repeated heavy lifting or an acute injury to the disc from a fall or other traumatic accident may also increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

Symptoms of Disc Disease

The symptoms of DDD can vary depending on the person and the severity of the disc degeneration. In most cases, the disease affects the most mobile parts of the spine: The lower back and the neck. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility that can impede a person’s ability to perform the tasks of daily living.

At Suburban Orthopaedics, our healthcare team is experienced in the treatment of disc disease and many other spinal disorders. Do not let your back pain compromise your quality of life—visit our website or contact our Bartlett, IL practice today at (630) 372-1100

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