Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is the medical term for general wear-and-tear (arthritic) changes of the intervertebral disc. The discs of the spine are joints. Just like all joints in the human body, they can become arthritic over time. DDD can occur in the lower back or in the neck. Nearly everyone develops degenerative changes of the intervertebral disc, many showing symptoms in their 30s.

DDD can be treated solely with medication and/or physical therapy. More severe conditions require certain surgical procedures.

Overall, nearly 99 percent of patients with a spinal disorder do not require surgery and improve with conservative treatment.