As we age, there are changes that our spine goes through, including the wearing down of our vertebral discs. These changes include a loss of disc fluid in the disc’s core, which causes the discs to thin out and lose flexibility; sometimes the outer layer of the disc wears out, which can lead to disc “leakage” and herniated discs.
This makes the movement of the spine more difficult and ultimately painful. People who suffer from obesity, smokers, and people who perform strenuous activity are often more susceptible to degenerative disc disease.
Your symptoms may vary, but those who suffer from degenerative disc disease typically experience:
• Neck or back pain
• Pain in the arms, legs, or buttocks that usually gets worse with more movement
• Radiating numbness into the extremities
• Weakness in the limbs
Pain from degenerative disc disease may also lessen over time because much of the nerve-related pain is caused by inflammatory proteins. When these proteins are “burned out,” you may experience some pain relief. But because the spine naturally ages and weakens, it is important to continue to treat any pain symptoms, especially because the disease is chronic and can cause other spine conditions.