Well as a fellow sufferer of chronic pain I feel ya...here's my perspective..also as a practitioner in "alternative health":
By a certain age (varies in different people obviously) everyone has disc degeneration.
When you go and get imaging like Xrays or MRI's, most doctors will correlate your symptoms with whatever they see on the imaging, whether they have any substantial reason to or not. Predictably, almost everyone has some disc degeneration after a certain age - however, plenty have no symptoms while others do. It is catch all answer to what causes back pain that is not necessarily reflective of reality. In addition, some are good at reading MRI's while others just look at them and kind of guess lol.
Not saying disc degeneration isn't the cause of your pain, just that the way modern medicine works excludes a number of other factors that could cause or contribute your discomfort - look at the success rates for back surgeries such as spinal fusions some time and you will see what I mean, clearly there are some issues with the standard explanations for causality of back pain. There are also 70 year olds that get up every morning with far worse "disc degeneration" than anyone we know and do things like farming, so clearly the perspectives given by modern medicine on pain and it's causes are limited in scope.
In my case joint mobility exercise, an anti inflammatory diet, calcium supplements, and deep tissue massage when needed keep pain manageable, don't assume it means anything that you have "disc disease", as so does everyone over the age of 30 or so..and that's a modest estimate. One of the bad things about the reliance on imaging for diagnoses is that unless you go to some sort of "alternative" practitioner, there are a ton of likely causes for pain. that won't even get investigated - as an example, palpation (which means a whole lot in terms of getting to the bottom of muscle pain and dysfunction) is largely a lost art to much modern medicine.
I would consider diet as a place to start, I had such bad pain in my shoulder that some days I could barely move it, I thought it would never go away, two months of elimination dieting and some exercise and it's like it never happened - don't make any assumptions about your pain, including contemplation of it in insight meditation is helpful for me, as it shows you your pain is a compound phenomena, rather than a simple sensation, and it shows that it is impermanent.
For joint stuff I also take turmeric in various forms, and as mentioned - a ton of greens and h20. The less sugar and caffeine I have the less pain I am in generally speaking.
As far as the pain though, I know it's not easy to hear (i've been there myself), but weight loss will help tremendously with back pain, IIRC most people have lumbar spinal disc degeneration in common areas - l4 & l5 being a common one. Frankly, a bunch of weight around the stomach HAS to contribute to the load being put on your spine. So don't worry about the discs "degenerating", just think about daily health - do you move the area as much as you should, is there extra weight there etc. If you want a simple exercise regimen, the basic sadhanas of Kundalini yoga involve spinal movement :http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/kundalini-yoga-yb/kriyas-meditations/featured-meditations/pdfs/BasicSpinal.pdf
I have used this basic series to recover and strengthen my spine many times. I do some version of this daily and keeping up practice of it is the difference between spasm, pain, and lack of mobility, or feeling something near "normal".
BTW if this helps, when I get xrays my spine is so messed up (birth defect) that most doctors can't even talk about it, I have to go specialists - so again, what the doctors see on the imaging is not necessarily a reflection of what you need to do, and it definitely isn't an accurate way to gauge how you should approach your pain - all IMO of course.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen