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What is disc space narrowing?

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Disc space narrowing is associated with a condition called degenerative disc disease. The space between discs can narrow due to fluid loss that also leads to narrowing of space between vertebrae, states Mayfield Clinic. However, besides narrowing of disc spaces, there are other factors involved with degenerative disc disease.

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Some other factors that can contribute to degenerative disc disease are small cracks in annular discs and spinal injuries that cause herniation, states WebMD. The discs found in the spine function as shock absorbers between vertebrae, and changes in the proper functioning of these discs can develop with the aging process. As discs become narrower and the distances between vertebrae diminish, bone spurs and spinal canal stenosis also can develop, according to the Mayfield Clinic. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes very narrow. Bone spurs and spinal stenosis can lead to compression of spinal nerves.

A symptom of degenerative disc disease can be pain in various regions of the spine where there is an affected disc, such as the neck and lower back. Sometimes pain can be worse with certain types of movements that place stress on damaged discs. Treatment options for this condition can include pain medications, physical therapy and possible surgery, notes the Mayfield Clinic.

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