The causes of lumbar degenerative disc disease depend on many known and theorized factors. Degenerative disc disease is a normal spinal aging process which affects every human to one degree or another as they get older. While the name of the condition makes it sound like a terrible thing to endure, the facts about degenerative disc disease are actually quite the opposite. First of all, DDD is not a disease. In fact, it is not even inherently pathological. Second, DDD is universal, affecting all of us. Last and most importantly, DDD is not troublesome or symptomatic in the overwhelming majority of diagnosed cases.
This article will detail the reasons why DDD exists in the lower back, as well as provide some facts that many be unknown to diagnosed patients.
The first cause of DDD is genetic predisposition. Some people are simply genetically programmed to endure more degeneration of the intervertebral structures than others. This is why it is so common for many generations to have identically diagnosed lower back pain syndromes.
Lifestyle factors also come into play, including the athletic requirements people impose upon their lumbar spines and the type of work they do. All these factors will increase or decrease the demonstrable disc degeneration in the spinal regions significantly.
Smoking and alcohol abuse are both common contributors to prematurely severe disc desiccation.
Severe or repetitive injury to the spine may also worsen existing disc degeneration or may speed up the beginning of the disc desiccation process.
There is no way to prevent the normal degenerative processes from acting on the intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine. However, it is certainly possible to prevent yourself from suffering under the possibly mistaken notion that these processes are the reasons for your back pain.
The nocebo effect of the DDD diagnosis is powerful and explains why so many people suffer an escalation of symptoms once formally diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. I know that my pain got far worse once I realized there was a seemingly problematic disorder with my spine.
It took me decades to learn the truth and break the cycle of pain. I hope that you will not fall victim to the same fate and will be able to separate the facts from the myths of degenerative disc disease much quicker than I did.
It must be noted that disc degeneration does indeed facilitate herniations and can contribute to the exacerbation of some other pathological spinal conditions, including osteoarthritis.
Do not get hung up on why you have DDD. It exists because it is normal and we all have it. Many doctors theorize that DDD can be accelerated or worsened through traumatic injury, mostly to support litigious efforts. While this may or may not be so, it is quite irrelevant in most cases. DDD, in virtually all its forms, is not a health issue, source of pain or spinal concern.
Far more important than agonizing over why you have degenerative disc disease is learning the facts of the condition and beating the considerable nocebo effect which escalates symptomatic expression in most diagnosed patients.
There is no avoiding disc desiccation in the lower back or neck. Luckily, research does not show a correlation between the incidence of DDD and the occurrence of back pain or neck pain in the affected areas.