20 Years of DDD. Pain has not went away. I have advanced DDD throughout my entire spine. Different doctors have told me different things reguarding the later stages of DDD. Anywhere from pain will go away as I age to telling me the final stages of DDD are very painfull and life threatening.
There are many things you can do to help control your pain. Shoes, Bed, wieght control, Diet, Recommended excersises, stretching, etc...
I have DDD and have been unable to work full time since 2003. Receiving disability in late 2006. I can get relief from my pain by simply lying down or sitting in the right position. I can not stand without assistance for longer then 5-8 minutes. I do not care what kind of pain meds, were I am or what I am doing. If I can't stand any longer I just go down. Thankfully it is in a chair, but flat on the back works best for me.
I also have DDD and unfortunately, mine is more often on the painful side than not. There are some days where it's not as bad, though, so it can wax and wane somewhat. Mine gets much worse with weather changes and humidity. And I keep getting disk bulges and herniations, sometimes it seems like every few weeks. Anti-inflammatories may help, although they are not good for the long term, but may help when flares are worse. The med that works best for me is prednisone. When I take steroids, it's almost as if I have no spine problems. But, that is even worse over the long term and is not usually prescribed for DDD. I do have other problems and I have taken Medrol Dose Packs (another steroid) for sciatica or other nerve pain flare ups and it does help. But one cannot take these for long, either.
So they say, exercise can help, though one should see a PT for the exercises best for them. Although swimming is usually the best exercise for these kinds of issues, as it puts no stress on your spine or other joints. However, exercise is still not a guarantee that it will help. In my case, I've been doing my PT exercises for over 2 years now and I still get bad pain in my spine (and elsewhere)....although I wonder how much worse it might be if I didn't exercise at all. It's just such a hard thing to deal with. I've had to really change the way I do things, but now I've pretty much gotten used to it.