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DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) causes chronic back pain and can occur in the neck, thoracic, or lumbar vertebrae. This disease usually develops over many years as a result of changes in the intervertebral disc. Often times the inner gelatinous nucleus pulposus is replaced by a harder substance, fibrocartilage. Cracks may also develop in the outer annulus fibrosis, thus allowing the inner gel-like nucleus to push through the disc and potentially push on a spinal nerve.
As with short episodes of back pain, degenerative disc disease can be exacerbated in people who are overweight or obese. The same physics exist, in that your excessive weight will add undue pressure on your spinal discs and increase the frequency and intensity of degeneration and chronic back pain.
Degenerative disc disease can cause additional malformations in your spine like:
Spondylolisthesis: actual bone splitting and dislodging
Spinal stenosis: extensive narrowing around the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots
Spondylolysis: a small stress fracture of the vertebrae
Herniation: the inner disc nucleus protrudes out
Sciatica: compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve, often causing symptoms down the leg
Radiculopathy: compression on a spinal nerve, causing abnormal limb sensations like numbness, pain, tingling, and weakness
Losing weight may prevent or slow down the degenerative process of inter-vertebral discs, thus giving you some relief to a chronic condition. Avoiding excessive strain on your back by performing proper body mechanics during moderate to heavy lifting can also help limit disc degeneration. (10)