One of the most common, yet the most misunderstood causes of lower back pain, is degenerative disc disease.
This degenerative condition in the lower regions of the back indicates that one or more of the discs in your vertebral column have become dehydrated and have started to deteriorate, resulting in pain in the lumbar back.
In some case, this condition can occur as a result of genetics; in other, more common cases, developing this condition may have multiple reasons.
Your spinal discs act as shock absorbers between the bones in your spine called vertebrae. Your disc and spine work together to help you turn, twist, bend and stay flexible.
As you get older, the disc can show signs of wear and tear. They begin to break down and may not work as well.
Over time and as we age, our vertebrae and the discs located within can wear and develop micro tears in its outer wall. This outer wall is called the annulus. Apart from age, this condition can also occur as a result of physical trauma for example an injury, an accident or another physical activity such as lifting heavy objects improperly.
The spinal discs do not get sufficient blood supply, so in the case of injury or sustaining physical trauma, they are unable to repair themselves.
Sometimes, direct damage to the disc can set off a cycle of degeneration and the disc starts to deteriorate. The degenerative disc disease is a common problem and affects an approximate of 30% of people between 30–-55 years of age.
Even though one of the symptoms of the degenerative disc disease is pain, not every person diagnosed with the condition will experience it. Most people won’t even be diagnosed with it. However, it is common for people over the age of 60 to have some level of disc degeneration that are easily indicated on MRI scans.