Despite the significant impairment associated with degenerative disc disease, a clear understanding of its pathogenesis is still lacking. Currently, no particular model parallels the complex nature of human disc degeneration. Naturally occurring animal models have the drawback that the basis for the high rate of disc degeneration is not known. Although the interventions in artificial animal models that create disc degeneration are known, the relationship of those to the events leading to disc degeneration in humans is not. With the recent progress in biomechanics, cell biology and molecular biology, an easily reproducible and valid animal model may help unlock the complex cascade of events surrounding human disc degeneration.