Yes, degenerative disc disease can be work-related or caused by job duties over time. It is very important that the injured worker explain to every doctor or therapist he or she sees the type of physical job duties required of them. The intervertebral discs in the lower spine are commonly blamed for low back pain. Yet low back pain has many possible causes, and doctors aren’t always certain why symptoms occur. IME doctors like to pass off degenerative disc disease as age related, ignoring that DDD can be caused by job duties too.
During an office visit for low back pain, the doctor may use the terms degeneration or degenerative disc disease. Although the parts of the spine do change with time and in some sense degenerate, these are medical terms of art. These terms are simply a starting point for describing what occurs in the spine over time, and how the changes may explain the symptoms people feel.
The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to form the spinal column. The spinal column gives the body its form. It is the body’s main upright support. The section of the spine in the lower back is known as the lumbar spine.
An intervertebral disc sits between each pair of vertebrae. The intervertebral disc is made of connective tissue. Connective tissue is the material that holds the living cells of the body together. Most connective tissue is made of fibers of a material called collagen. These fibers help the disc withstand tension and pressure.
The disc normally works like a shock absorber. It protects the spine against the daily pull of gravity. It also protects the spine during strenuous activities that put strong force on the spine, such as jumping, running, and lifting.
An intervertebral disc is made of two parts. The center, called the nucleus, is spongy providing most of the disc’s ability to absorb shock. It is held in place by the annulus, a series of strong ligament rings surrounding it. Ligaments are connective tissues that attach bones to other bones.
Between the vertebrae of each spinal segment are two facet joints. The facet joints are located on the back of the spinal column. There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae, one on each side of the spine. A facet joint is made of small, bony knobs that line up along the back of the spine. The alignment of the facet joints of the lumbar spine allows freedom of movement as you bend forward and back.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for workers compensation disability benefits.