Degenerative Disc Disease: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/21/2020

Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which there is damage to the discs that serve as a cushion between the vertebrae of the spine. Degeneration (deterioration) of the disc increases the possibility of herniation (rupture of the disc). This typically occurs in the cervical spine of the neck and/or lumbar spine of the low back.

Herniation of the disc can cause pressure on the nerves, leading to the condition known as sciatica. It can also cause pain localized to the site of the damage. Signs and symptoms associated with sciatica resulting from degenerative disc disease can include a

Causes of degenerative disc disease

Normal wear and tear over time (degenerative changes), sports, and injury to the spine can also lead to degenerative disc disease.

Other degenerative disc disease symptoms and signs

  • Buttock Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Pins and Needles Sensation in the Leg
  • Reduced Sensation of Touch
  • Stiffness
  • Thigh Pain

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.