Degeneration with age interferes with the normal process of regaining height, and by 60 a loss of two inches is not uncommon.
There are 23 jellylike intervertebral disks that act as shock absorbers between the spinal vertebrae, Dr. Härtl said. The disks, which are as much as 88 percent water, are compressed during the day as standing, moving and vibration squeeze out fluid. Then at night, when the body is flat and at rest, the disks reabsorb fluid like sponges.
As we get older, degenerative processes interfere with reabsorption, Dr. Härtl said. Blood supply and circulation diminish, and the disk material stiffens.