Degenerative Disc Disease



The systems that are affected are the skeletal system, specifically the spine, and the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord because of the stuff from the spine that can press up against it. In between the vertebrae in the spine the are cushions full of water called intervertebral discs. They help take the weight that the spine holds, prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other, and expand and contract as the spine moves, allowing it to be more flexible.
Big image

Who Gets DDD

Degenerative Disc Disease is age related disease with some genetic predispositions. People of a gender or race do not get it more than someone of a different race or gender. Most people who have DDD, or a ruptured disc, are older, but some people can get it when they are teens.
Big image

What happens in DDD (onset)

As people get older, their discs start to dry out. They dry out because the outside of the disc starts to crack or tear, and when it heals, the scars aren't as strong as the original tissue. The water on the inside would dry up. That can cause the disc to bulge (herniate), and eventually collapse and break (ruputure).
Degenerative Disc Disease, What It Is and Who Gets It


Someone might tell their doctor about signs or symptoms. Their doctor might then refer them to a specialist (orthopaedic surgeon). The specialist might have the person write down the history of the condition, which helps the doctor tell if it is DDD, how bad it is (severity), when it started (origin), and if others in your family have something similar. After that, the doctor might give you a physical examination, testing your motor skills, how much pain you have, weakness in the limb that hurts, and how flexible your spine is.

Signs and Symptoms

"Discogenic pain" - pain caused by a degenerated disc
  • most commonly back pain
  • can be pain in the buttox, leg, or thigh
  • which can spread down the leg and into the foot
  • problems can spread through the entire spine as other discs degenerate

Bulging discs are common, but only bad if they cause pain or narrow the spinal canal.

Other symptoms are weakness and numbness, or loss of feeling or motor skills.


People shouldn’t die from this disease. The discs will never stop degeneration, because that is what happens as you get older. Treatments should help with pain to completely get rid of, or partially alleviate, the pain so that you can live normally. Surgery helps if a disc is completely degenerated, or ruptured, and needs support.

Why I chose DDD

I chose DDD because my mom has it and I wanted to learn more about it.