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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes degenerative disc disease?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Anjelo Ratnachandra

    Physiotherapist

    In my opinion, this is a misleading term. In my experience, the term ‘degenerative’ is a medical term for age-related change. Everyone will have some level of degeneration. Older people will have more as they are older, and some people will have faster degeneration than others due to their genetics. But in most case “degenerative disc disease” is not a disease, and is not sign of something serious. It refers to age related change. Grey Hair can be considered degenerative hair disease or wrinkly skin may be considered as degenerative skin disease.

    The simple answer to this question is Age.

  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Beau Woods

    Chiropractor

    Dr Beau Woods Chiropractor BSc. BChiro (Murdoch)Special interests; Postural correction, family care, spine related disorders, fibromyalgia & motor vehicle injuries. View Profile

    'Wrinkled skin of the spine' is an argument often put forward to explain away the overwhelming prevalence of degenerative changes visualised on spinal imaging modalities. Just because tooth decay and high blood pressure are very common in our community does not make the presence of these findings ‘normal’. Why then are patients told that they have ‘normal’ arthritis in their spines?

    DDD is not just age related. A Scottish study found that 9% of 10 year olds have degenerative changes in the lumbar intervertebral discs.

    Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Ryan Hislop

    Chiropractor

    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Mudgee Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    DDD typically is a result of the natural aging process (as Anjelo mentioned), although it also can also be caused by injury and trauma.  At birth, intervertebral discs are about 80% water, along with collagen and proteins, with most of the water located in the nucleus pulposus (the middle part of the disc). This fluid gives the disc its spongy quality and contributes to its shock-absorbing abilities.Over time and under injury or trauma, the amount of water in the disc decreases and the collagens and proteins undergo chemical changes. As a result, the discs become more stiff and rigid, and therefore vulnerable to tearing. This process also causes the discs to flatten over time, reducing the amount of space between the vertebrae.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Anjelo Ratnachandra

    Physiotherapist

    Completely agree with what you have said. I concur that degenerative changes can occur following trauma or can be congenital. In my practice, i mostly see this term used for aged-related change.

  • 2

    Thanks

    Chiropractor at Healing Wave Chiropractic Warners Bay, NSW 2282Executive Board Member of the Chiropractors Association of Australia“Your body has the Innate ability to self heal … View Profile

    Degenerative Discs are not a “disease”.
    If the Chassis of your car was twisted you would wear out the tires in an asymmetrical fashion…yes?
    If your spine is twisted or not functioning correctly your discs will wear out asymmetrically…yes?
    If this goes on for too long your Nervous System will be effected.

    Love,

    Tim

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