Degeneration of the vertebral discs is a natural process as a person ages. The discs undergo slow wear and tear over many years, as a side effect of normal daily stresses. As this process continues the size and shape of the discs change, the discs loose vertical height, therefore leading to less space between each vertebra. Though not always symptomatic, Degenerative Disc Disease(DDD) can cause acute or chronic pain.
Between the vertebrae, exiting from the spinal cord travel the peripheral nerves, which connect the central nervous system to the limbs. As the space between the vertebrae decreases, the root of the peripheral nerves can become compressed. This compression can create pain, weakness and numbness in the low back, hips and legs.
Treatment for DDD depends to many factors including stage of degeneration, how acute or chronic it is, compounding injuries, age and posture all play a role in how to approach treatment. Treatment can range from medical intervention with anti-inflammatories to surgeries or paramedical services like physiotherapy, chiropractors or massage therapy. Also, regular exercise and stretching can be very helpful but it is important to see a medical professional who can do a proper assessment any time you are experiencing back pain, as it's easy to make an injuries worse by not know what exercises and stretches will help and which ones will hurt.