Degenerative disk disease is treated in a variety of ways including pain management medications, ice or heat therapy, physical therapy, and in some cases surgery, according to WebMD. Normally physical therapy and surgery are not done unless a person develops osteoarthritis, a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.
When surgery is required, any damaged disks are removed, notes WebMD. In some cases the bone is fused to protect the spinal cord. Rarely, an artificial disk is used to replace the damaged disk that is removed. Degenerative disk disease is not actually a disease, but is a term used for the normal changes that happen to the disks in the spine with age. Some people with this condition have very little pain, while other people develop moderate-to-severe pain.