One of the most common causes of back and neck pain is known as Degenerative Disc Disease. As individuals age or experience a significant injury to their back, the spinal discs weaken and can cause sections of the vertebrae to rub together and press on nerves causing them to become pinched. While Degenerative Disc Disease isn't actually a disease, it is the medical description for common conditions pain management specialists often treat.
Degenerative disc disease first occurs as small tears appear in the disc wall causing pain. As they heal, they form scar tissue, which is not as strong as the previous material in the disc wall. Over time this tissue can weaken, causing the disc center to eventually collapse. Bone spurs can then form from the awkward positioning of the vertebrae. Nerve roots often become compressed and cause severe pain as well.
Inflammation and abnormal micromotion instability are two symptoms associated with Degenerative Disc Disease. Proteins in the disc space may cause inflammation, leading to low back pain radiating to the hips. Pain might also travel down the back of the legs as well. If the outer rings of the intervertebral disc are damaged or become worn down, it is not as effective in resisting motion in the spine. This condition is known as micromotion instability. Both inflammation and abnormal micromotion instability cause lower back spasms and other issues.