Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
Posted in the Back Pain Forum
#1 Oct 1, 2012
Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease: Lumbar degenerative disc disease usually starts with a torsional (twisting) injury to the lower back. However, the pain is also frequently caused by simple wear and tear on the spine. Despite its rather dramatic label, degenerative disc disease is fairly common, and it is estimated that at least 30% of people aged 30-50 years old will have some degree of disc space degeneration.
Lumbar degenerative disc disease pain and symptoms: Will experience low-grade continuous but tolerable pain that will occasionally flare (intensify) for a few days or more.
Pain symptoms can vary, but generally are:
1) Centered on the lower back, although it can radiate to the hips and legs
2) Frequently worse when sitting, when the discs experience a heavier load than when patients are standing, walking or even laying down
3) Exacerbated by certain movements, particularly bending, twisting or lifting
The low back pain associated with lumbar degenerative disc disease is usually generated from one or both of two sources
Inflammation, as the proteins in the disc space irritate the surrounding nerves,
Abnormal micro-motion instability, when the outer rings of the disc - the annulus fibrous are worn down and cannot absorb stress on the spine effectively, resulting in movement along the vertebral segment
Lumbar degenerative disc disease diagnosis: Following a review of the patients history and a physical examination, a formal diagnosis of lumbar degenerative disc disease can be confirmed with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment Options:
An Exercise Program is essential to relieving the pain of lumbar degenerative disc disease and should have several components, including:
1) Hamstring stretching, since tightness in these muscles can increase the stress on the back and the pain caused by a degenerative disc
2) A strengthening exercise program, such as Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization exercises, where patients are taught to find their natural spine, the position in which they feel most comfortable, and to maintain that position
3) Low-impact aerobic conditioning (such as walking, swimming, biking) to ensure adequate flow of nutrients and blood to spine structures, and relieve pressure on the discs
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