Health Blog

An Overview Of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Lumbar degenerative disk disease

You probably don’t think too much about your spinal discs, unless your body starts to hurt. The spine is a wonderful thing. It is our body’s primary support system. It keeps us upright and keeps everything together. Even though the spine is made up of bones, the ligaments and spinal disks make it flexible. The lower 5 vertebrae are the lumbar spine, commonly known as the lower back. The lumbar spinal disc absorbs shock between the vertebrae, which allows you to move easily. As you age, however, your spine ages along with you. A degenerated disc is an aging disc which is becoming dry or cracked. Lumbar degenerative disc disease is a condition that often affects both men and women as they age. Degenerative disc disease can lead to pain and possibly weakness or numbness.

Lumbar DDD Symptoms

People with degenerative disc disease frequently have persistent lower back or neck pain along with occasional episodes of acute pain, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Common symptoms often include intermittent lower back pain, which can radiate to hips and legs, or lower back pain that is continuous and can last more than 6 weeks. This may feel like a painful ache in the lower back, rather than a burning pain. The pain is often worse when walking, because this places a heavier load on the discs. However, standing for long periods of time may also aggravate the pain. Most often people find relief with sitting. Certain movements, such as bending, twisting and lifting can trigger the pain. Some people experience tingling or numbness in the legs and difficulty walking.

Some tips to combat Lumbar DDD

Naturally you want to reduce the risk of lumbar degenerative disc disease. There are a number of ways to do that. Start by establishing a regular exercise routine. You may wish to consult a professional, such as a physical therapist, to help you plan your exercise program. Easy activities such as stretching, walking, or yoga can avoid unnecessary back or neck strain. Good posture is another simple way to help keep your spine healthy. Make it a habit to keep your back erect, to sleep on your side and always lift heavy objects correctly, bearing the weight with your legs instead of your back. Other factors, such as maintaining healthy weight and avoiding smoking help lower your risk.

If you are experiencing symptoms, consult your doctor or physical therapist  early. Diagnosing lumbar degenerative disc disease begins with the patient’s history. They will want to know when the pain started, as well as a description of your symptoms and positions or activities that affect the pain. Next, your they will examine you, focusing on your lower back and legs and checking your range of motion and muscle strength. Your doctor may also order an MRI scan but in most cases, you do not need this right away.

Here’s good news…

If you do have degenerative disc disease, it can usually be treated without surgery. If a patient does not have relief after a period of treatment, pain shots or as a last resort, surgery may then be considered. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to control pain and inflammation. In most cases, all you need is a hands-on physical therapist. He will help you begin a program of physical therapy and exercise in order to relieve pain and increase movement. The goal is to help you continue to meet your personal goals as well as participate in your daily activities and routines.

Exercise and physical therapy are vitally important to managing lumbar degenerative disc disease. These measures can maintain or reestablish the strength and range of motion in the spine. Treatment programs usually consist of specialized “manual” hands on treatment wherein your physical therapist skillfully uses his hands to alleviate joint and muscle pain and stiffness. He will also prescribe a  variety of exercises. These may include lumbar stabilization exercises to help strengthen the back. Strengthening the muscles of your arms, legs and trunk can also support your spine and reduce some of its workload.

Exercises which gently stretch and improve mobility in your joints and spinal muscles often relieve pain and help you move more comfortably. Hamstring stretches are important because tight hamstring muscles can increase the pain and stress of lumbar degenerative disc disease.

Aerobic exercise has many benefits, including improved strength and mobility, maintaining a healthy body weight, sustaining a good flow of nutrients to the spine and relieving pain. Low-impact aerobics, such as swimming, biking or walking, provide all these benefits in an easy, pleasant way.

Your physical therapist will create a program suited to your individual needs. These might include manual therapy for stiff joints and muscles, making small changes in the way you stand, sit, lift and bend both at work and at home, and special pain treatments, such as ice, for severe pain. Working with a physical therapist also ensures that you can perform exercises that involve strengthening and flexibility without hurting yourself.

Statistics show that more than 65 million Americans suffer from lower back pain annually and, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 60-80% of us will experience lower back pain at some point. While lumbar degenerative disc disease is often a natural result of getting older, you do not have to suffer because of it. The treatment program created for you may involve more exercise than you are used to, but keeping active and healthy will reduce the impact of the condition on your life. Take advantage of the educational materials provided by your doctor and your physical therapist. You may also wish to attend informational seminars on living with lumbar degenerative disease. Whether or not you have not been diagnosed with the condition, start now to take care of your spine and your overall health. You’ll never regret it.

Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop

If you want more information, you may attend one of our upcoming Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop near you.

During the workshop, we discuss the Top 3 Most Common Causes of Back Pain and Sciatica, and how you can naturally heal without medications, injections, or surgery.

Click here for the Valparaiso Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.

Click here for the Crown Point Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.

To your healthy back,

Arlan Alburo

Tags: , ,

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAIL LISTDiscover the solution to pain-free living.
Sign up today for monthly health tips.

Our Reviews
Barbara Serynek
Barbara Serynek
18:52 03 Oct 19
The entire staff has been very pleasant, professional and accommodating. Both Kristen and Joe have given me the best massages. Kate and Kollin made sure that I was doing my excercises and helped to move things along. Feeling better every visit. I'm so glad that I chose Orthopedic & Balance.
Heidi Richardson
Heidi Richardson
17:00 19 Sep 19
I went to physical therapy not expecting it to do very much to help because that’s the way I approach everything with low expectations. Noel and his team have made my neck feel so much better that it puts me in a more positive mood each day and I actually feel more positive and more productive on a day-to-day basis..
Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
16:26 14 Aug 19
I could barely walk into OBTS six weeks ago. I had very bad lower back and hip pain. The progress has been life changing for me. I always walk out of there with little or no pain. The staff, Laura, Dr Diane, Angie and, of course, Peggy, have taught me so much to keep my pain at bay. I highly recommend this team.
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. Go....you will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better. The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
See All Reviews