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Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc TreatmentDegenerative Disc Disorder › Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disorder

Degenerative disc disorder is a medical condition that is usually related to ageing. It can however occur in patients who have undergone some sort of injury or trauma to their spine e.g. through an accident. The degeneration of the vertebral discs is a natural process and occurs over time. Like all parts of our bodies, the vertebral discs change in consistency and structure as we age. At birth, the vertebral discs contain 80% water. Other substances contained in the discs include several proteins and collagen. The water in the disc is concentrated at the nucleus. This viscous fluid gives the disc a spongy quality and allows it to function as a shock absorber.

Degenerative disc disorder develops over a long period of time. As we age several changes occur in the vertebral discs. The volume of water in the discs reduces and the proteins and collagen molecules experience chemical changes. The loss of water and the changes in the protein and collagen molecules result in the vertebral discs becoming more rigid and thus more prone to tear. The overall result of these changes is the flattening of the discs which in turn results in a reduction in space between the vertebrae.

Those suffering from degenerative disc disorder suffer a great deal
of pain as a result of inflammation or mechanical damage.

Mechanical pain results from the squeezing of nerves by herniated discs or compression of disc space. Inflammatory pain results from the release of chemicals that cause irritation to the nerve endings.

Herniated discs are a common occurrence in degenerative disc disorder. Herniated discs occur when a tear develops in a compressed disc. The fluid inside the disc seeps out causing the disc to bulge out. This bulging can result in the compression of nerve roots. The result is pain that is felt at the nerve roots. In some cases this pain radiates through the nerves to other parts of the body i.e. radiculitis.

Degenerative disc disorder can result in spinal stenosis if the condition continues untreated. The herniated discs may bulge into the spinal canal reducing the space available within the canal for the spine.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disorder
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease - Medical Conditio
Article published December 21st, 2010
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