Lumbargia - OrthoInfo - AAOS (2023)

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Almost everyone will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can range from mild to severe. It can be short term or long term. No matter how it happens, lower back pain can make many daily activities difficult.


Your spine is made up of small bones, called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of each other. Muscles, ligaments, nerves and intervertebral discs are additional parts of the vertebral column.

Muscles and ligaments help to stabilize the bones, while the intervertebral discs provide "cushioning" to the spine so that it can tolerate various movements and stresses placed on it. The nerves that allow communication between the brain and the body are found within the spinal column.

Understanding your spine and how it works can help you better understand low back pain. More information about the anatomy of the spine:column fundamentals


Back pain differs from person to person. The pain may have a slow onset or come on suddenly. The pain can be intermittent or constant. In most cases, back pain goes away on its own within a few weeks.


There are many causes of low back pain. It sometimes occurs after a specific movement, such as lifting or bending. Aging also plays a role in many back conditions.

As we age, our spine ages with us. Aging causes degenerative changes in the spine. These changes can start in our 30s, or even earlier, and can make us prone to back pain, especially if we overdo our activities.

These age-related changes do not prevent most people from leading productive and generally pain-free lives. We've all seen the 70-year-old marathon runner who undoubtedly has degenerative changes in her back.


One of the most common causes of low back pain is muscle pain from overactivity. Muscles and ligament fibers can be strained or injured.

This is usually due to the first softball or golf game of the season, or too much yard work or snow shoveling in one day. We are all familiar with that stiffness and pain in the lower back and other areas of the body, which usually goes away within a few days.

disc injury

Some people develop lower back pain that doesn't go away within a few days. This could mean that there is an injury to an intervertebral disc.

Disk tear.Small tears sometimes occur on the outside of the disc (annular) with aging. Some people with disc injuries don't feel pain. Others may have pain that lasts for weeks, months or even longer. A small number of people can develop constant pain that lasts for years and is quite disabling. It is not well understood why some people feel pain and others do not.

Disc herniation.Another common type of disc injury is a "slipped" or herniated disc.

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Disc herniation.

A disc herniates when its gelatinous center (nucleus) pushes against its rim. If the disc is badly worn or injured, the core may pass through. When the herniated disc protrudes into the spinal canal, it presses on sensitive spinal nerves and causes pain.

Because a herniated disc in the lower back usually presses on the nerve root that runs down the leg and foot, pain in the buttocks and legs often occurs. Calledsciatica.

A herniated disc usually occurs with lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting movements.

disc degeneration

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Disc degeneration.

With age, intervertebral discs begin to wear down and shrink. In some cases, they can completely collapse and cause the facet joints, the tiny joints located between each vertebra at the back of the spine, to rub against each other. The result is pain and stiffness. Smoking has also been found to accelerate disc degeneration.

This wear and tear on the facet joints is known as osteoarthritis, also known as spondylosis. It can lead to further back problems, including spinal stenosis.

degenerative spondylolisthesis

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(Spon-dee-low-lis-THEE-sis) The changes of aging and general wear and tear make it difficult for the joints and ligaments to keep the spine in the proper position. The vertebrae can move more than they should and one vertebra can slide forward over the other. If too much sliding occurs, the bones can begin to press on the spinal nerves.

spinal stenosis

spinal stenosisIt occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

When the intervertebral discs collapse and osteoarthritis develops, your body may respond by developing new bone (arthritis) in the facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this overgrowth of bone (called a spur) can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. Osteoarthritis can also cause the ligaments that connect the vertebrae to thicken, which can narrow the spinal canal.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can develop in children, most often during adolescence. It can also develop in older patients with arthritis. This spinal deformity can cause back pain and possibly pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs if there is pressure on the nerves.

compression fracture

Vertebral compression fractures are a common cause of back pain in the elderly. As we age, our bones become weaker and more likely to break, a condition called osteoporosis. In people with osteoporosis, minor trauma, such as sitting forcefully on a hard chair or toilet, or a fall to ground level, can cause the bones in the spine to fracture, causing severe back pain.

additional causes

There are other causes of back pain, some of which can be serious. If you have vascular or arterial disease, a history of cancer, or ever-present pain regardless of your activity level or position, consult your primary care physician.

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Back pain varies. It can be sharpened or stabbed. It may be dull, achy, or feel like a "charley horse" cramp. The type of pain you experience will depend on the underlying cause of your back pain.

Most people find that lying down or lying down improves their lower back pain, regardless of the underlying cause.

People with low back pain often find that their pain gets worse when:

  • bend and lift
  • session
  • standing and walking

They can also try:

  • Back pain that comes and goes and often follows a course of ups and downs, with good days and bad days.
  • Pain that spreads from the back to the buttocks or outer hip area, but not down the leg.
  • Sciatica. This includes pain in the buttocks and legs and even numbness, tingling or weakness that extends down to the foot. Although sciatica is commonly associated with a herniated disc, it is possible to have sciatica without back pain.

Regardless of your age or symptoms, if your back pain doesn't improve within a few weeks or is associated with fever, chills, or unexpected weight loss, you should call your doctor. Other warning symptoms include weakness in the legs and loss of bladder and bowel control.

Tests and Diagnosis

Medical History and Physical Examination

After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine your back. This will include looking at your back and pushing in different areas to see if it hurts. Your doctor may ask you to lean forward, backward, and side to side to look for limitations or pain.

Your doctor may also measure nerve function in your legs. This includes checking your knee and ankle reflexes, as well as strength and sensation tests. This can let your doctor know if your nerves are severely affected.

imaging exams

Other tests that can help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include:

X ray.Although they only visualize bones, plain x-rays can help determine if you have the more obvious causes of back pain. They will show broken bones, aging changes, curves or deformities. X-rays do not show discs, muscles or nerves.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).MRI scans can create better images than x-rays of soft tissue such as muscles, nerves and discs in the spine. Conditions such as a herniated disc or infection are more visible on an MRI.

Computed axial tomography (CT).If your doctor suspects a bone problem, he may suggest a CT scan. This test is like a three-dimensional X-ray and focuses on the bones.

Bone scan.Your doctor may suggest a bone scan if you need more information to assess your pain and make sure it's not caused by a rare problem like cancer or an infection. A bone scan can also help detect a fracture.

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Bone density test.If you are concerned about osteoporosis, your doctor may order a bone density test. Osteoporosis weakens bones and makes them more likely to break. Osteoporosis by itself should not cause back pain, but fractures of the spine due to osteoporosis can.

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In general, treatment for low back pain falls into one of three categories: medication, physical medicine, and surgery.

non-surgical treatment

medicinesVarious medications can be used to help ease the pain.

  • Paracetamolcan relieve pain with few side effects
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen reduce pain and swelling
  • steroids, taken by mouth or injected into the spine, administers a high dose of anti-inflammatory medication
  • muscle relaxantssuch as methocarbamol, carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine are another type of oral medication that can help. However, they can make you drowsy. Therefore, if you are taking muscle relaxants, do not drive or perform tasks that require you to be alert.

Physical medicine.Low back pain can be disabling. Medications and combination therapies usually ease the pain enough to allow you to do whatever you want to do.

  • Physical therapyIt may include passive modalities such as heat, ice, massage, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. Active therapy consists of stretching, weight lifting and cardiovascular exercises. Exercising to restore movement and strength to your lower back can be very helpful in alleviating pain.
  • Suspendersare often used. The most common is a corset-like girdle that can be wrapped around the back and stomach. Braces are not always helpful, but some people report feeling more comfortable and stable when wearing them.
  • Chiropractic or manipulative therapyit is available in many different forms. Some patients are able to relieve low back pain with these treatments.
  • Tractionit is often used, but without scientific proof of effectiveness.
  • Other exercise-based programs,such as Pilates or yoga are helpful for some patients.

surgical treatment

Surgery for low back pain should only be considered when non-surgical treatment options have been tried and failed. It's best to try non-surgical options for 6 months to a year before considering surgery.

Also, surgery should only be considered if your doctor can identify the source of your pain.

Surgery is not a last resort treatment option. Some patients are not candidates for surgery even though they are in a lot of pain and other treatments have not worked. Some types of chronic low back pain simply cannot be treated with surgery.

spinal fusion.Spinal fusion is essentially a welding process. The basic idea is to fuse the painful vertebrae together so that they heal into a single solid bone.

Spinal fusion eliminates movement between vertebral segments. It is an option when movement is the source of pain. For example, your doctor may recommend a spinal fusion if you have spinal instability, a curvature (scoliosis), or severe degeneration of one or more of your discs. The theory is that if painful spinal segments don't move, they shouldn't hurt.

Fusion of vertebrae in the lumbar region has been performed for decades. A variety of surgical techniques evolved. In most cases, a bone graft is used to fuse the vertebrae together. Screws, rods or a cage are used to keep the spine stable while the bone graft heals.

Surgery can be done through the abdomen, side, back, or a combination of these approaches. There is even a procedure that is done through a small opening near the tailbone. No procedure has proven to be better than another.

Spinal fusion results for low back pain vary. It can be very effective for eliminating pain, not working and all. Full recovery can take more than a year.

Disk replacement.This procedure consists of removing the disc and replacing it with an artificial disc. It is done through the abdomen, usually on the lower two discs of the spine.

The purpose of disc replacement is to allow the spinal segment to retain some flexibility and maintain more normal movement.

Although no longer considered a new technology, the results of artificial disc replacement compared to fusion are controversial.

Discectomia.Discectomy is the removal of the damaged part of a herniated disc. This relieves pressure on the nerve, allowing the sciatica to resolve.

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Laminectomia.A laminectomy involves removing the thick ligaments and bone spurs that are compressing the nerves. This relieves pressure on the spinal canal, resulting in less nerve pain.

Cifoplastia/Vertebroplastia.This procedure involves injecting cement into the broken bone to stabilize an osteoporotic compression fracture. This helps eliminate the sharp pain associated with the fracture.


It may not be possible to prevent low back pain. We cannot avoid the normal wear and tear on the spine that accompanies aging. But there are things we can do to lessen the impact of low back problems. Having a healthy lifestyle is a good start.

exercise regularly

Combine aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, with specific exercises to keep your back and abdominal muscles strong and flexible.

Use proper lifting technique

Make sure you lift weight with your legs, not your back. Don't bend down to pick something up. Keep your back straight and bend your knees.

maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight puts stress on your lower back.

Avoid smoking

Both smoking and nicotine cause the spine to age faster than normal. if you smoke,

Use proper posture

Good posture is important to avoid future problems. A therapist can teach you how to stand, sit, and stand safely.

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Information on this subject is also available asortoinfoBasic brochure in PDF.

For more information:

basic leaflets


What is degenerative disc disease Aaos? ›

Disk degeneration. With age, intervertebral disks begin to wear away and shrink. In some cases, they may collapse completely and cause the facet joints — the small joints located between each vertebra on the back of the spine — to rub against one another. Pain and stiffness result.

What is LBA in Ortho? ›

Low backache (LBA) is a common medical disorder, and 60%–80% of adults develop LBA sometime in their lifetime. It is the fifth most common cause to visit physician in the USA. [1,2] Chronic LBA (CLBA) is considered if continuous or fluctuating LBA continues for >3 months.

What do orthopedics do for lower back pain? ›

Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain. Many orthopedic physicians are also orthopedic surgeons.

What is the best treatment for lumbar degenerative disc disease? ›

Treatment may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, or both, special exercises, medications, losing weight, and surgery. Medical options include injecting the joints next to the damaged disc with steroids and a local anesthetic. These are called facet joint injections. They can provide effective pain relief.

Can you live with degenerative disc disease without surgery? ›

Degenerative disc disease is relatively common in aging adults, and, as a reassurance, it seldom requires surgery. When medical attention is needed, the majority of patients respond well to non-surgical forms of treatment, and recovery occurs in about six weeks.

How do you calculate LBA? ›

Thus, the lower the LBA value is, the closer the physical sector is to the hard drive's first (that is, outermost) cylinder. CHS tuples can be mapped to LBA address with the following formula: LBA = (C × HPC + H) × SPT + (S − 1)

What is LBA range? ›

LBA's are addressed linearly, ranging from 0 to n-1 inclusively, where n is the maximum available sectors. With the Identify or Inquiry command, the storage device informs the host of the maximum available addressable capacity, and should properly reject requests accessing beyond such range.

What causes most lower back injuries? ›

Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. For people in poor physical condition, constant strain on the back can cause painful muscle spasms.

Can lower back pain be cured without surgery? ›

Acupuncture, massage, biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, electrical nerve stimulation and other nonsurgical spine treatments can also make a difference for chronic back pain. Talk to your spine specialist about alternative treatments that could benefit you.

What can a doctor do for severe lower back pain? ›

“We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments,” said Dr. Guo. “For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications.

Does walking fix lower back pain? ›

Going on walks: Initial research suggests that going on a walk or brisk walking (Nordic walking) can help relieve back pain if done regularly – for instance, every two days for 30 to 60 minutes.

What exercises should I avoid if I have lower back pain? ›

Here are which exercises to avoid if you have back pain, and which to do instead.
  • Avoid: Crunches.
  • Try this instead: Modified sit-ups. ...
  • Avoid: High-impact activities.
  • Try this instead: Water aerobics or yoga. ...
  • Avoid: Running.
  • Try this instead: Walking. ...
  • Avoid: Biking off road.
  • Try this instead: Use a recumbent bike.
May 29, 2018

How should I sit with lower back pain? ›

  1. Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).
  2. Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back.
  3. Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.)
Dec 23, 2020

What should you not do with degenerative disc disease? ›

People with degenerative disk disease should avoid slouching and a sedentary lifestyle. They should also refrain from exercise or activities that are high impact or involve heavy lifting. Many people experience lower back pain due to degenerative disk disease.

How can I strengthen my lower back with degenerative disc disease? ›

Lie on your back in the hook lying position (knees bent and feet flat on the floor). Rotate your knees to 1 side, holding them for 3 to 5 seconds. While contracting your abdominal muscles, slowly rotate your knees to the other side and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times on both sides.

Do muscle relaxers help degenerative disc disease? ›

Muscle Relaxants

If degeneration causes a disc to slip out of place and pinch a nerve, the electrical signals that move from the nerve to nearby muscle tissue may be disrupted, leading to painful muscle spasms. Muscle relaxant medications can calm spasms and ease pain, letting you move more easily.

What makes degenerative disc disease worse? ›

Excessive strain on the low back caused by sports, frequent heavy lifting, or labor-intensive jobs. Strain on the lumbar spinal discs due to prolonged sitting and/or poor posture. Lack of support for the discs due to weak core muscles. Obesity.

When should you get surgery for degenerative disc disease? ›

Surgical treatment is an option in cases of severe, debilitating lumbar degenerative disc disease, and is usually only recommended after at least 6 months of nonsurgical treatment. Most cases of degenerative disc disease can be managed using nonsurgical methods, and do not require surgery for effective pain relief.

How can I prevent degenerative disc disease from getting worse? ›

Many things can be done to lower the risk or progression of DDD.
  1. Stop smoking, or better yet, don't start — smoking increases the rate of desiccation.
  2. Be active – regular exercise to increase the strength and flexibility of muscles that surround and support the spine.

What is the maximum disk size for LBA? ›

A logical block address is a 28-bit value that maps to a specific cylinder-head-sector address on the disk. 28 bits allows sufficient variation to specify addresses on a hard disk up to 8.4 gigabytes in data storage capacity.

What is total LBAs written? ›

Show activity on this post. 241 - Total LBAs Written: The total number of 512-byte sectors written during the entire lifetime of the device.

What is the limitation of 32 bit LBA? ›

The 2-TB barrier is the result of this 32-bit limitation. Because the maximum number that can be represented by using 32 bits is 4,294,967,295, it translates to 2.199 TB of capacity by using 512-byte sectors (approximately 2.2 TB).

What is LBA error? ›

A bad block, also known as a bad Logical Block Address (LBA), can also be caused by logical data errors. This occurs when data is written incorrectly to a drive even though it is reported as a successful write. Additionally, good data stored on a drive can be changed inadvertently.

What is LBA 0? ›

The first sector for a partitioned hard disk (LBA 0 or CHS 0/0/1) contains: the Master Boot Record (MBR) and the Primary or Master Partition Table (MPT)

What is the difference between LBA and sector? ›

The sector is the smallest addressable unit, and was traditionally fixed at 512 bytes. LBA is logical byte addressing wherein the drive reads from and writes to a sector address by its offset, for example, read the 37th sector on the disk or write this to the 1434th sector on the disk (starting from zero).

What is the new treatment for back pain 2022? ›

SIR 2022: Injectable Gel Shows Promise to Significantly Reduce Lower Back Pain. Researchers are conducting the first human tests of an experimental formulation of a hydrogel, injected into spinal discs, to substantially deliver safe and effective relief of chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease (DDD) ...

What organ would cause lower back pain? ›

Kidneys help remove liquid waste from the body. When urine contains a lot of chemical substances – more than what the urine can dilute – kidney stones can form, and they can cause a sharp pain in the side and the lower back region.

Can a lumbar strain be permanent? ›

It persists even after you receive treatment for the underlying cause. Roughly 20 percent of people who have acute lower back pain end up developing chronic lower back pain. Chronic lower back pain is usually worse than acute muscle strain because it never goes away completely.

What can I do instead of back surgery? ›

What Are the Most Effective Spinal Fusion Alternatives?
  • Epidural Steroid Injections. If your discomfort is caused by disc herniation or spinal stenosis compressing your nerves, epidural steroid injections (ESI's) may offer a non-surgical way to eliminate your pain. ...
  • Stem Cell Therapy. ...
  • Artificial Disc Replacement.
Aug 1, 2022

Why can't I use Voltaren gel on my back? ›

It reduces inflammation and pain. Voltaren gel is approved for use on arm and leg joints only. It has not been studied for use in the hips or spine. You should not use Voltaren gel to treat muscle pain in other areas of the body, such as the lower back.

When is lumbar surgery necessary? ›

Do you need back surgery? Back surgery might be an option if other treatments haven't worked, and your pain is disabling. Many people with back pain also have pain that goes down a leg. These symptoms are often caused by pinched nerves in the spine.

What is the best position to sleep in with lower back pain? ›

The best position to avoid back pain is lying flat on your back. Even so, many people find it the hardest way to enjoy deep sleep. For optimal spine alignment, place one pillow underneath your head or neck and another underneath your knees.

What painkillers are best for back pain? ›

NSAIDs are often the go-to drugs for back pain relief. They can be purchased over the counter (or, in higher doses, by prescription) and include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in muscles and around damaged spinal discs or arthritic joints.

What blood tests are done for lower back pain? ›

These tests may include complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR), and urinalysis.

Should I rest or keep moving with back pain? ›

Research shows that: Lying down longer than a day or two day isn't helpful for relieving back pain. People can recover more quickly without any bed rest. The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.

Is heat or ice better for back pain? ›

Generally speaking, ice is better than heat for back pain that may be caused by an acute injury. The Cleveland Clinic says that, in the battle of back pain, “Ice wins to shut down swelling, inflammation and pain early on where heat may actually make an injury worse.”

Should I rest or exercise with back pain? ›

Information. A common myth about back pain is that you need to rest and avoid activity for a long time. In fact, doctors do not recommend bed rest. If you have no sign of a serious cause for your back pain (such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness, weight loss, or fever), stay as active as possible.

What worsens lower back pain? ›

If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when it's cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine.

Can stretching make back pain worse? ›

While stretching is highly recommended before physical activity and even as a way to release tight muscles in the morning, it may not be wise when suffering with current back pain. It can actually aggravate the muscles that are already inflamed due to injury.

What activity puts most strain on lower back? ›

Pushing and pulling sports, such as weight lifting or football, can lead to a lumbar strain. In addition, sports that require sudden twisting of the lower back, such as in tennis, basketball, baseball, and golf, can lead to this injury.

What are 3 exercises that strengthen your back? ›

15 best back exercises
  • Resistance band pull-apart. Why it's on the list: A great exercise to kick off your back workout, the resistance band pull-apart is simple but effective. ...
  • Lat pulldown. ...
  • Back extension. ...
  • Suspended row. ...
  • Wood chop. ...
  • Good morning. ...
  • Quadruped single-arm dumbbell row. ...
  • Wide dumbbell bent-over row.

What are 3 exercises that strengthen your lower body? ›

  • 5 lower body toning exercises. Strengthening your lower body not only blasts major calories, it also protects your knees, hips and back from injury. ...
  • Squats. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your shoulders pressed down and back. ...
  • 3-way lunge. Stand with your feet together. ...
  • Calf raises. ...
  • Split jump. ...
  • Bridge.

What are the Big 3 back exercises? ›

Stuart McGill's “Big Three” Low Back Exercises.
  • The McGill Curl Up. Lie down on your back. Extend one leg and bend the knee of the other leg. ...
  • The Side Bridge. Lie on your side, with your forearm on the floor and elbow underneath your shoulder. ...
  • The Bird Dog. Assume a hands-and-knees position on the floor.

Is lying down good for lower back pain? ›

If you have back pain, bed rest can be useful, especially if you are in severe pain while sitting and standing. But it's best to limit bed rest during the day to a few hours at a time, for no more than a couple of days. That's because too much time in bed can do more harm than good.

Does sitting worsen lower back pain? ›

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, cause increased stress of the back, neck, arms and legs and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.

How do you explain degenerative disc disease? ›

Degenerative disk disease is when your spinal disks wear down. Spinal disks are rubbery cushions between your vertebrae (bones in your spinal column). They act as shock absorbers and help you move, bend and twist comfortably. Everyone's spinal disks degenerate over time and is a normal part of aging.

What is the main cause of degenerative disc disease? ›

Degeneration occurs because of age-related wear-and-tear on a spinal disc, and may be accelerated by injury, health and lifestyle factors, and possibly by genetic predisposition to joint pain or musculoskeletal disorders. Degenerative disc disease rarely starts from a major trauma such as a car accident.

What is degenerative disc disease and what causes it? ›

Degenerative disc disease isn't actually a disease, but rather a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain. This pain can range from nagging to disabling. The condition can be caused by the drying out of the disc over time, daily activities, sports and injuries.

What is the typical most common cause of degenerative disk disease? ›

While age is the most common cause of Degenerative Disc Disease, other factors may increase the risk of developing this chronic condition. Sometimes, a traumatic injury or an accumulation of minor back-related injuries can lead to disc deterioration, ultimately causing Degenerative Disc Disease.

When is surgery needed for degenerative disc disease? ›

Surgery to address degenerative disc disease is usually only recommended if pain is severe and nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medications and physical therapy, are ineffective.

What activities should be avoided with degenerative disc disease? ›

People with degenerative disk disease should avoid slouching and a sedentary lifestyle. They should also refrain from exercise or activities that are high impact or involve heavy lifting. Many people experience lower back pain due to degenerative disk disease.

Can a degenerative disc ever heal? ›

Answer: Unfortunately, there's currently no cure for degenerative disc disease, and once you're diagnosed with DDD, it's typically a lifelong journey of learning to live with back pain, neck pain, or other symptoms. Once your discs begin to degenerate, you can't really reverse the process.

How do you treat degenerative disc disease without surgery? ›

Non-surgical Treatment
  1. Pain Medications. Your doctor will most likely recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. ...
  2. Heat/cold treatment. Applying ice or a cold pack to a painful area of the spine can relieve pain by reducing inflammation. ...
  3. Epidural Steroid Injections. ...
  4. Physical Therapy. ...
  5. Exercise programs.
Dec 24, 2020

Can you live with degenerative disc disease? ›

Can you live a normal life with degenerative disc disease? The answer is yes, even it forces you to be out of work for an extended amount of time. Do not give up. There are many methods of pain relief that you can do at home that can help you live a normal life.

What happens if degenerative disc disease is left untreated? ›

Without appropriate treatment, degenerative disc disease can cause lasting, debilitating back pain. The pain may become so severe that you find it difficult to carry out your normal daily activities. It can interfere with your mobility and your overall quality of life.

What is the average age of degenerative disc disease? ›

Most people's spinal discs degenerate over time. By the age of 35, approximately 30% of people will show evidence of disc degeneration at one or more levels. By the age of 60, more than 90% of people will show evidence of some disc degeneration.

What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine? ›

What are the symptoms of lumbar disk disease?
  • Intermittent or continuous back pain. ...
  • Spasm of the back muscles.
  • Sciatica – pain that starts near the back or buttock and travels down the leg to the calf or into the foot.
  • Muscle weakness in the legs.
  • Numbness in the leg or foot.
  • Decreased reflexes at the knee or ankle.

How fast does degenerative disc disease progress? ›

The degenerative process of the spinal disc may start gradually or suddenly, but progresses over 2 to 3 decades from severe and at times even disabling bouts of pain to a state in which the spine is restabilized and the pain is diminished.


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