Intervertebral Disc Degeneration (IDD)
Intervertebral discs are cushion-like structures found between the vertebrae of the spine. They serve as shock absorbers, providing flexibility and allowing for smooth movement of the spine. Each disc consists of a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus, which encloses a soft, gel-like substance known as the nucleus pulposus. This enables the discs to withstand compressive forces while also providing the necessary support for the spine. Intervertebral discs play a crucial role in maintaining spinal stability and preventing bone-on-bone contact, acting as the body's natural shock absorbers and facilitating the spine's range of motion.
Intervertebral discs degenerate as we age and refer to the gradual breakdown and deterioration of the intervertebral discs in the spine. Over time, the discs can lose their elasticity, become thinner, and experience structural changes. This degeneration can occur due to factors such as aging, repetitive stress, poor posture, or injury. As the discs deteriorate, they may lose their ability to absorb shocks and distribute forces evenly, leading to symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Additionally, disc degeneration can contribute to the development of other spinal conditions, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.