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Degenerative Disc Disease, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits




For more information on:   Social Security Disability and SSI Disability.



Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a painful condition most often caused by strenuous or repetitive heavy lifting or an injury such as a car accident, sports injury or serious fall that can affect the spine. The strain of lifting or injury can cause tears and trauma to the discs that separate the vertebrae in the spinal column, making them lose their elasticity and ability to flex, bend and protect the vertebrae and the spine.

Degenerative disc disease also happens normally in a gradual progression due to age and a loss of fluid in the discs, but does not usually cause a problem in this capacity. When Degenerative disc disease is caused by heavy lifting or injury it is more prominent and painful due to disc inflammation and subsequent nerve pain.

Degenerative disc disease is characterized by low back pain and sometimes neck pain that can spread to other parts of the body such as the thighs, buttocks and hips. It may be accompanied by tingling, numbness and weakness in the arms or legs and can lead to other more serious issues such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis. If you have lower back or neck pain, it is highly suggested that you get an exam to make sure it is not a serious issue. Degenerative disc disease can sometimes be diagnosed with a physical examination, although sometimes an X-ray is needed to determine the problem.

Contrary to the name, Degenerative disc disease is not actually a progressive disease, but a condition that normally happens slowly with age, unless an injury is sustained. Since Degenerative disc disease is more often an injury related condition and not a disease, it is most often treated with a combination of chiropractic work, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs such as over-the-counter pain medications or in some cases prescription pain relievers, or spinal injections. If these treatments do not work and the pain is chronic and severe, accompanied by nerve damage, spinal fusion surgery may be needed.

Currently there are many new treatments options being explored for Degenerative disc disease, from disc replacement and stem cell therapies to gene therapy and glucosamine injections.















Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions





























Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria