What is lumbar degenerative disc disease?

Lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) refers to a syndrome in which age-related wear and tear of a lumbar spinal disc causes lower back pain. Lumbar DDD may be accelerated by injury, health and lifestyle factors, and possibly genetic predisposition to joint pain or musculoskeletal disorders.

What conditions are associated with lumbar DDD?

Over time, lumbar DDD can contribute to the development of these lower back conditions:

  • Lumbar Herniated Disc
  • Lumbar Osteoarthritis
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

What are the common symptoms of lumbar DDD?

  • Lower back pain. A painful ache at the site of a degenerated disc is a typical symptom of a degenerative disc.
  • Occasional pain flare-ups. Exertion or unsupported posture may cause back pain to intensify for several days or weeks and then return to a moderate level.
  • Local tenderness. The area of the lower back surrounding the degenerated disc may be sensitive to touch.
  • Leg pain. The buttock, hip, and back of the leg may develop neurological symptoms, such as numbness, weakness, and/or shooting pain, if the disc space collapses enough to pinch a nerve root exiting the spine.
  • Giving out symptoms. Sudden weakness or instability can create a sensation that the lower back will “give out” with sudden movements.

How is lumbar DDD treated?

Nonsurgical Treatments

One or more of the following nonsurgical options may be tried first to treat lumbar DDD.

  • Physical Therapy
  • Ice or Heat Therapy
  • Epidural Steroid Injections
  • Medication
  • Manual Manipulation

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatment may be considered for severe, debilitating lumbar DDD that does not respond to nonsurgical treatments and causes progressive neurological deficits.

  • Lumbar Spinal Fusion
  • Artificial Disc Replacement

This information is not intended or implied as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images or other information provided is intended for general information purposes only. Always consult with your physician for diagnosis or treatment.