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Does degenerative disc disease qualify as a disability?

Updated April 08, 2017

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a hereditary disease that causes the breakdown of the lower SI joint in the back. The UK government provides free treatment for the condition through the NHS. However, as it effects about 20 per cent of the UK population, you would qualify for disability benefit if you suffer from DDD.

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Degenerative disc disease is a normal part of the ageing process, but for some people, the degeneration of the spine at the vertebrae can cause pulsing, or constant pain set off by a trauma. Lifting is the most common cause of disc degeneration.


The discs in the spine become dehydrated as a result of the injury and lose their ability to absorb and decompress the shock between the vertebrae. A lack of blood supplied to the discs keeps them from healing or repairing on their own.


Chronic pain in the lower back is a telling symptom of degenerative disc disease. The pain will often radiate throughout the hips and thighs. Walking will set off the pain. Other telling signs are tingling in the muscles of the area or weakness through the knee. Similar pain may be felt or may increase while sitting, bending, lifting and twisting. Chronic neck pain can also be caused in the upper spine, with pain radiating to the shoulders, arms and hands.


Sitting can become painful. Pain can be evident while bending, lifting, twisting or performing everyday movements. Constant pain in the neck and upper spine, arms, shoulders and hands can be additional symptoms of degenerative disc disease.


Degenerative disc disease can usually be treated without surgery via spinal injections and medications. However, in severe cases, surgery is needed to repair the discs.


Some symptoms exhibit themselves because of inflammation and shallow nerve endings.

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About the Author

Laura Stuart

Laura N. Stuart is a writer. She has served as a newspaper reporter, photographer, copy editor, feature reporter, editor, entertainment reporter and freelance writer for multiple community and regional publications. She holds a Bachelor of Mass Communications degree in journalism from Louisiana State University.

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