The weakening or wearing down of one or more vertebral disks in an individual’s spinal column. This wearing down process typically progresses after small tears appear in the disk walls. Even though the tears will heal naturally, the scar tissue that remains is not as strong as before, enabling the disk to collapse between vertebrae’s.
This condition is commonly attributed to as a natural part of aging, when disks in the vertebrae begin to lose their fluid and begin to weaken and collapse. However, it can also be caused by direct trauma to the back that cause tears and injury to the disk walls.
Degenerative disk disease can cause mild to severe pain in the affected area of the back, numbness or tingling in the legs and difficulty sitting and twisting.
Treatment of degenerative disk disease depends on the severity of the injury. For minor back pains, an individual may be prescribed over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pressure on the area. Physical therapy treatments may also be used to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the back. For more severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the damaged disk and fuse the affected vertebrae together.