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Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Despite what the name suggests, lumbar degenerative disc disease is neither a true disease nor does it progressively worsen over time. Rather, lumbar degenerative disc disease refers to a condition in which age-related wear and tear on a spinal disc causes low back pain.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Symptoms greatly vary, depending on how quickly or thoroughly the disc degenerates and how it affects the surrounding spinal structures. Some typical symptoms include:

  • Moderate, continuous low back pain
  • Weakness or instability in low back
  • Severe and sudden back pain flare-ups
  • Local tenderness
  • Numbness or sharp, shooting pain above the knee

Pain can vary from nagging to severe, and may last from a few days to a few months. As the spine gradually stabilizes, it’s not uncommon for the pain and other symptoms to alleviate.

Degenerative Disc Disease Risk Factors

Risk factors for degenerative disc disease include:

  • Family history
  • Certain sports or labor-intensive occupations
  • Prolonged sitting and/or poor posture
  • Weak core muscles
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

Prolonged bed rest is not recommended for degenerative disc disease. Remaining inactive for long periods can weaken the muscles and stiffen the spine, leading to increased pain. Suggested treatment methods include:

  • Physical therapy and strengthening exercises
  • Medications and analgesics to reduce pain and swelling
  • Injections of anti-inflammatory and/or numbing agents
  • Massage therapy to reduce tension and muscle spasms
  • Heat and ice to improve circulation

Surgical treatment is an option in cases of severe, debilitating degenerative disc disease. Call 330.835.5533 and schedule an appointment with a Summa spine specialist to discuss the right treatment for you.


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.