Study shows one-third 40-59 year-olds have moderate to severe degenerative disc disease

Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, and Boston Medical Center have reported that one-third of people 40-59 years have image-based evidence of moderate to severe degenerative disc disease and more than half had moderate to severe spinal osteoarthritis. Beyond that, the prevalence of disc height narrowing and joint osteoarthritis increased 2 to 4 fold in those aged 60-69 and 70-89 respectively. Furthermore, scientists observed that progression of these conditions occurred 40 — 70% more frequently in women than men.

To uncover these results, scientists used CT scans taken six years apart to evaluate the severity of disc disease and spinal osteoarthritis in 1200 cohort members of the Framingham Study — a collection of data from Framingham, MA residents and their offspring dating back to the 1940s. The results of this study were published recently in The Spine Journal.

Elizabeth Samelson, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at the Institute for Aging Research and author of this study said, “Spinal degenerative conditions, including disc height narrowing and joint osteoarthritis are common causes of pain, reduced function, and health care costs in older adults. Despite the clinical importance, little is known about the frequency and progression of spinal degenerative disease in the general population. Therefore, we conducted a study to describe the prevalence and progression in a population-based cohort.”

Story Source: Materials provided by Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging ResearchNote: Content may be edited for style and length. Read this article on Science Daily —> Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research. “One third of people aged 40-59 have evidence of degenerative disc disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2018. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517163317.htm.


Both osteoarthritis and injury can cause significant back pain as there are many nerve fibers in the area. Your doctor may suggest a medial branch block or facet injection procedure in order to accurately diagnose your condition. If you are found to have a facet joint problem, treatment plan may include back bracing, chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture , medication, or a radiofrequency ablation procedure.

Degenerative spondylolisthesis, or the slipping of a vertebra out of place can occur as the result of facet arthritis. The pain caused by this condition is often treated with physical therapy, medication, and epidural steroid injections. Read more about what causes back pain and potential treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease.

You Might Also Enjoy...

PRP: Is It Safe?

The goal of regenerative medicine is to tap the powerful resources already found within the human body. And this is certainly true of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. But is this approach to healing safe?

Am I a Candidate for Cortisone Injections?

If you’re among the millions of Americans who struggle with joint pain, cortisone injections hold the key to regaining pain-free movement. Here’s a look at this first-line treatment option and whether you’re a candidate.

Understanding Cervical Radiculopathy

When one of the nerves in your neck is compressed, not only can it cause local problems, but symptoms can radiate out toward your arms and hands as well. Called cervical radiculopathy, here’s a look at how the issue develops.

Help! I Hurt All Over!

Every day you get out of bed, hoping this will be the day that pain won’t get in your way. Yet, the pain persists. Here’s a look at the most common culprits when it comes to widespread pain, and what we can do about them.

5 Tips for Preventing Neck Pain

While many situations in life can be considered a pain in the neck, actual neck pain can limit your life in significant ways. Here are five tips that go a long way toward preventing and remedying neck pain.

Living Better With Arthritis

Arthritis, in all its many forms, can be a frustrating condition to live with — mostly because there’s no cure. That said, there are some effective ways for better managing joint disease, allowing you to remain healthy and active.