Degenerative disc disease is a very common source of pain in the lower back. In fact, because of aging, most adults have some degree of degenerative disc disease.
Your spinal discs absorb shock in the spine and also help with flexibility. They are made up of a firm outer layer and a soft core. Over time, the proteins in the soft core become inflamed, and the discs become thinner due to aging. Some activities and sports can also contribute to small tears in the outer layer. Once discs are injured, they do not repair themselves due to lack of blood flow to the area.
Pain is the most common symptom of degenerative disc disease. This can be in various areas, depending on which discs are affected. Pain is common in the lower back, thighs, neck, and buttocks. The pain is often worse when you bend or sit, and can be sporadic or constant.
If you have degenerative disc disease, you are also at an increased risk of experiencing bulging discs and disc herniation.
There are several treatment approaches to managing degenerative disc disease. Spinal stimulators can send electrical impulses to the spinal cord and interrupt pain signals. Epidural injections provide anti-inflammatory medication in the epidural space. In some cases, spinal fusion may need to be performed in order to fuse the spine together and remove damaged discs.