Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a common finding on spinal imaging, including x rays and MRIs, and can be a cause of low back and neck pain. It is caused from wear and tear on the spinal disc. People with degenerative disc disease shown on imaging of the spine may have chronic pain, but it is also a common finding in people with no pain. In fact, about half of asymptomatic 30 year olds will have disc bulges or disc degeneration on an MRI of the spine. Disc degeneration can cause pain when there is associated inflammation in the disc or surrounding bone, or when the loss of height of the disc causes nerves to become compressed. In this case, affected patients may have weakness or numbness in the arms or legs or hot, shooting pains. Disc degeneration is common in the neck and low back because these areas experience the most motion and stress.