Lower back pain can have any number of causes, but these 4 symptoms may indicate your pain is from lumbar degenerative disc disease:
1. Pain that is provoked by activity, then subsides
Often times, a symptom of lumbar degenerative disc disease is pain that is provoked by physical activity—such as bending, lifting, or twisting—and then subsides.
For example, your lower back pain may flare-up after swinging a golf club, or perhaps following an extended period of gardening. If you have degenerative disc disease, it is likely that the pain from these activities will soon return to a low-grade level, or disappear entirely.
However, in certain cases it is possible for severe episodes of lower back pain caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease to last from anywhere between a few days and a few months.
2. Pain that is worse when sitting
Many of my patients find that their degenerative disc disease pain is worse when sitting. One reason for this is that sitting places 3 times as much pressure on the discs at the bottom of your spine as standing.
This means that if you work a sedentary office job, you may be provoking your symptoms simply by going about your daily routine. One way to test whether sitting is exacerbating your symptoms is to alternate between using a standing desk and sitting in a chair during your workday.
It is important to note that some patients still feel pain from degenerative disc disease while standing—but they may find significant relief while walking (or engaging in some other form of exercise).
3. Pain that improves when resting in a reclining position
Many people who suffer from lumbar degenerative disc disease find that their symptoms are alleviated by resting in a reclining position (such as lying in a reclining chair). Additionally, others find relief simply by sleeping with a pillow under their knees. Both positions provide relief because they reduce the stress on your lumbar disc space.
In some cases, patients with degenerative disc disease choose to purchase an adjustable bed—as it can be configured in a number of ways to support your body in a reclining position.
If you suspect your back pain is caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor. She or he can help you accurately identify the source of your symptoms—which is the first step when it comes to finding the right course of treatment.