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While degenerative disc disease may not be commonly understood, it is certainly common in the population. People may start to develop the disease in their 20s, says Dr. Claire Bingham, a physical therapist at OrthoCarolina Hickory. This is typically due to the natural loss of water content in the body as we age.

By the time folks reach age 50, 80% have signs of degenerative disc disease, though not all are in pain. Dr. Bingham says that while the disease itself may not cause pain, it will cause inflammation to stick around when there is another pain-causing ailment present.

While the disease cannot be cured, physical therapists like Dr. Bingham can assist in finding patients movement positions to decrease pain and exercises to help put their body in a position that the condition is not exacerbated. 

Once the inflammation subsides, folks typically go back to moving the way they once were.

This article was originally published on May 18th, 2018 and updated on February 3, 2020.

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