Degenerative disc disease is a term used to describe the changes in your spinal discs (shock absorbers separating individual bones in the spine) as you age. Each disc is made up of a jelly-like core (nucleus pulposus) and is encapsulated within the fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosus). Although the degeneration can occur anywhere along the spine, it usually affects the discs in the neck and in the lower back. The pain often gets worse with twisting, bending, flexing or extending the affected part of the spine.


  • Loss of fluid in the discs
  • Cracks in the outer layer of the discs
  • Trauma (injury)


  • Reduced distance between the vertebrae
  • Reduced shock-absorbing ability
  • Reduced flexibility and stability
  • Bulging of discs
  • Rupture and/or fragmentation of discs
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Growth of bone spurs


Localised pain along the affected region of the spine:

  • Neck pain
  • Lower back pain

Referred pain:

  • Shoulders and arms, if the affected region is the neck
  • Buttock and legs, if the affected region is the lower back
  • May include numbness and/ or tingling sensation


If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, herniated disc, or spinal stenosis, you may need treatment and the treatment options are dependent of the severity of the condition. The doctor will discuss with you the treatment options available to manage/ improve your condition. You may be prescribed physiotherapy sessions where you learn strengthening-exercises and improving posture. Oral pain-killers may be prescribed and some instances, injections may be recommended. For severe cases, surgery may be advised.

Early treatment with physiotherapy, injections and pain blocks can all be done within BJIOS Orthopaedics; major surgery are still performed in the hospital.

Is pain affecting your day-to-day life and mental health?