Degenerative disc disease refers to symptoms of back or neck pain caused by wear-and-tear on a spinal disc. Degenerative disc disease typically consists of a low-level chronic pain with intermittent episodes of more severe pain. Painful disc degeneration is common in the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). These areas of the spine undergo the most motion and stress and are most susceptible to disc degeneration. In some cases, degenerative disc disease also causes weakness, numbness, and hot, shooting pains in the arms or legs (radicular pain).
Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that happens when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down, leading to pain. Despite its name, degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but a natural occurrence that comes with aging.