Degenerative joint disease, or joint degeneration, is another name for osteoarthritis. It is known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis because it develops as joints wear down, allowing bones to rub against each other. People with degenerative joint disease often have joint stiffness, pain and swollen joints. It can become so debilitating that daily tasks become difficult.
How it Happens: As people age, their bodies tend to get weaker as bones, muscles and joints break down or gradually lose function. When joint tissue rubs against bone for many years, the normal wear and tear can have a negative effect on joints, including joints in the vertebrae. Degeneration of joint tissue often leads to the stiffness and pain so common with osteoarthritis. Arthritis can develop in any joint, but it is most common in the neck and lower back.