Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease. The term is used to describe the changes that occur when spinal discs age.
As you age, there is less fluid retained in the discs, which leads to less flexibility. Tiny cracks can develop in the outer layer of the discs and cause the jelly-like interior of the discs (the nucleus) to leak out and bulge.
You are at an increased risk of degenerative disc disease if you smoke, are obese, have had a previous back injury, or do heavy lifting or other regular physical work.
Degenerative disc disease is diagnosed with a physical exam and imaging tests.
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