Degenerative Disc Disease
Updated: Feb 18
What is degenerative disc disease (DDD)?
Degenerative disc disease is a natural aging process where the discs in our back lose their elasticity and ‘plumpness,’ leading to stiffness and greater pressure being exerted on the joints’ of the spine. Deterioration can occur in the joint’s surfaces and in severe cases cause nerve compression – all of which can be very painful and debilitating.
How does it happen?
Everyday forces, coupled with gravity, lead to the flexible gelatin structure of the vertebral discs becoming tougher and decreasing. This increases the chance of arthritis in these joints, which can give symptoms ranging from mild stiffness to severe pain and in severe cases nerve compression.
Who gets degenerative disc disease?
It is part of the natural aging process and the body’s response to forces placed on our bodies over time. The process usually starts in our thirties and forties and progresses throughout our life, with speed and severity determined by many factors - posture, smoking, obesity, heavy physical work, weakness and lack of exercise.
How can Physiotherapy help?
The good news is that degenerative disc disease does not have to be painful. Physiotherapy has been proven to help with pain and improve function. After a full assessment a treatment program tailored to you will look to increase your mobility, improve your strength, give you advice on posture through the day and at night and use manual techniques to relieve your symptoms as quickly as possible.