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Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease and Treatment

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Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease and Treatment

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Nov 22, 2016

Degenerative disc disease in the lower back or lumbar spine refers to the syndrome in which a disc that is compromised causes pain in the lower back. Although few of the cases of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease can be due to the genetic component, but majorly the reasons are multi-factorial. It can be because of the simple wear and tear or due to traumatic reasons. Usually, it is due to the injury to the disc which progresses and deteriorates with time. The disc does not have a blood supply so it cannot repair by itself if it suffers from an injury. This disease is common and around 30% of the population between 30-50 years of age experiences some degree of degeneration. The pain attached to lumbar degenerative disc disease can arise because of Inflammation or abnormal micromotion instability. The excessive micro-motion, combined with inflammatory proteins, can lead to low back pain. This pain decreases eventually over the period of time, and the reason is that fully degenerated disc does not have any inflammatory protein that causes pain.  

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Diagnosis

  • Understanding patient’s history and how the pain started. Knowing about the pain and symptoms and activities and body posture that make the condition worse.
  • Physical exam in which specialist examine the patients for any signs of symptomatic degenerated disc. It includes studying muscle strength.
  • MRI scan is carried out to find out lumbar degenerative disc disease.

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Symptoms

  • Pain is often aggravated by the activities such as bending, lifting and twisting.
  • Disabling pain
  • Sitting for long hours can cause excessive pain
  • Weakness in the legs, pain and numbness
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  If your pain and other symptoms are not treated with the non-surgical treatment, then your doctor may suggest spine surgery. The type of spine surgery you must undergo depends on where on the spine degenerative disease exists. One of the most popular spine surgery procedures is Microdiscectomy.


  The goal of lumbar Microdiscectomy surgery is to remove the portion of a herniated disc material which inflames the nerve root. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthesia and a small incision is made in the middle of the lower back. The back muscles which are called as erector spinae are lifted from the lamina of the spine. The surgeon is then able to reach the spine by removing a membrane present on the nerve roots. Then a small portion of the inside facet joint is removed for facilitating the access to nerve root so that the pressure to the nerve can be relieved. The nerve root is moved to the side so that disc material can be taken off from under the nerve root. Only herniated portion of the disc is removed so that nerve has enough space to heal.

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