Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or spondylosis – as it is sometimes known- is a medical disorder in which the invertebral discs are damaged. Intervertebral discs are responsible for separating each of the vertebrae of the backbone and they are gel-like cushions in their make. Different types of degenerative disc diseases can cause the patient a lot of pain as well as unusual stiffness in the neck or back. This type of pain does not just stays in the neck or back but it usually trickle down to the shoulders, back of the head, legs, feet, hands as well as arms.
Anatomy of the Spine
The backbone or the spine has thirty three vertebrae or bony segments. These thirty three bony segments are divided in different sections with around seven vertebrae in the cervical or neck region, twelve in the thoracic region or mid-back and five in the lumbar region or lower back while the other nine form the tailbone and pelvis.
Degenerative Disc Disease Types
Before going into the different types of degenerative disc diseases let us first make clear that DDD is not actually a disease but a medical condition, and the word degenerative used to describe this condition does not really mean that the symptoms of this disorder worsen over time. Ironically, the symptoms actually improve with time and the condition of the patient stabilizes as well.
When DDD occurs in the first seven vertebrae present in the neck then it is called cervical disc disease. When DDD is takes place in the middle-back region then it is known as the thoracic disc disease however this condition is very uncommon. When DDD occurs in the lower back it is called lumbago.
Prevalence of Degenerative Disc Disease
Usually this condition prevails in the ages above 35 to 60 and is a natural process of aging and almost 80% of the adults feel the symptoms of this condition overtime. Degenerative disc disease surgery is not very common and usually doctors prefer conservative treatment for this medical condition.