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Degenerative disk disease is the gradual deterioration of the disk between the vertebrae. This disease is part of the natural process of growing older. Unfortunately, as we age, our intervertebral disks lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock-absorbing characteristics. The ligaments that surround the disk become brittle, and they are more easily torn. At the same time, the gel-like center of the disk starts to dry and shrink. The combination of damage to the intervertebral disks, the development of bone spurs and a gradual thickening of the ligaments that support the spine can contribute to degenerative arthritis of the cervical spine. Severe degeneration does not guarantee physical symptoms will be present. Many patients have collapsed disks and experience no pain. They do not know that they have this condition. It is common for all the cervical disks to experience moderate to severe degeneration throughout life.