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Degenerative disc disease (DJD) is not really a disease, but rather a degenerative condition of the spinal structure. It can include arthritic changes, decreased space between the vertebrae, tears in the annulus fibrosis (the firm, tough outer layer of the disc) and damage to the nucleus pulposus (the jelly-like inner layer of the disc). There appears to be no direct/linear correlation between disc degeneration and low back pain, however.