Degenerative Disc Disease Causes
When degenerative disc disease causes are examined, one stands out above the rest. The most common cause of this condition is growing older. As we all know, the wear and tear on the back and neck that comes with time is mostly unavoidable. Other factors, including being overweight, genetics, and diet, can also influence the onset of degenerative disc disease, but aging remains, by far, the primary cause.
Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease, but rather a condition that affects many people and that is marked by the natural deterioration of intervertebral discs, which are the soft pads that cushion and protect the spine's vertebrae. While everyone experiences physical degeneration as they age, the rate at which this degeneration happens - and the way in which it manifests itself - is different for everyone. Therefore, while some individuals will not experience any neck or back pain throughout their lifetimes, others will suffer from severe spinal pain that starts in early adulthood and persists for years.
How Degenerative Disc Diseases Causes Further Problems
Our bodies gradually degenerate over time in all areas, but the spine is one of the most common areas where this is realized. Over the course of time, the discs that separate vertebrae in the spine will lose their ability to retain water and naturally transition from a flexible, jelly-like substance into a stiffer, more rigid material. These flattened, weaker, degenerated discs must still bear the weight from the upper body that they always have, and oftentimes, that weight can force weakened discs to tear or bulge outward beyond their normal boundaries. Bulging and tearing can send disc material into the spinal cord and/or nearby nerve roots, causing a number of symptoms including localized and radiating pain.
Preventing Degenerative Disc Disease
There is no way to entirely prevent degenerative disc disease and its known causes, but there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of developing DDD or the degree to which it will affect you. Aside from aging, the most influential factors leading to DDD are body weight, smoking, diet, and posture, with weight being the single most important factor. Weight is such an important factor because a key role of intervertebral discs is absorbing the weight and movements of the upper body. With that being said, maintaining a manageable and healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing degenerative disc disease. Also, quitting smoking, eating a nutritious diet, and keeping proper posture can also minimize the likelihood of suffering from degenerative disc disease.