Disc degeneration, also called degenerative disc disease, is the term for changes in your spinal discs as you get older.
Each spinal disc is like a jelly donut, with a soft center (nucleus) surrounded by a tougher outer shell (capsule). As you get older, the capsule can become brittle or crack and the nucleus can leak or bulge. If disc tissue presses on nearby spinal nerves, it can cause pain or weakness. Disc degeneration can also have other causes, such as osteoarthritis.