Second, this rupture is many times caused through trauma, such as the repeated strong motions done in sports like basketball, the lifting of a heavy object, or simply a fall on the spine. But, a rupture can be caused due to deterioration of the discs experienced through aging. One-third of adults over 20 show signs of herniated disks (although only 3% of these disks cause symptoms). The substance in the discs is mostly made of water and as you get older, discs slowly lose some of that content of water. When water is removed, the discs lose flexibility, making them prone to tearing through normal activity, like walking or really any movement that involves the spine. Spinal disks begin deteriorating and growing thinner by age 30. It is no surprise, then, that back problems are concentrated among the elderly population. This phenomenon is known, appropriately, as disc degeneration. The result is the same: loss in cushion and pain in the spine.