Degenerative disc disease is a common cause of low back pain. The discs in your spine become worn out and break down, and the outer layer erodes and protrudes into the spinal canal, causing pain.
There are many treatment options for degenerative disc disease, but not all are right for everyone. Your doctor may recommend one or more treatment options, depending on your symptoms and overall health.
Signs and symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
This disease includes one or more of these signs and symptoms:
- Pain in your lower back or neck. This may occur just when you’re sitting or standing still but usually becomes more intense when you move around or bend forward.
- Tingling or numbness (sciatica). For example, you might feel tingling or numbness in one leg while standing on one foot or walking downstairs.
- Weakness in your legs when you stand up from a seated position (foot drop).
- Loss of range of motion when turning or twisting your body
- Pain with bending forward or lifting objects
Common Lumbar DDD Treatments
Exercise and physical therapy
Exercise and physical therapy can help strengthen core muscles and improve overall mobility. These options can help reduce stress on your back and spine while improving your body’s overall strength and flexibility. Physical therapy may also include strengthening exercises for your lower back and hips to help improve stability around that area of your body.
Heat or cold
Heat or cold therapy can be used at home or during office visits to help decrease swelling or inflammation from degenerative disc disease, which may help ease pain and stiffness in some cases. Your doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen.
Massage therapy is a non-invasive treatment performed by a trained therapist or self-administered at home. It helps loosen tight muscles and reduce stress levels in the body. Massage therapy may also improve circulation and decrease inflammation of soft tissues in the spine. If your pain is caused by inflammation, massage may help reduce swelling around your spinal discs.
This treatment involves the manipulation of the spine to relieve pressure on painful areas, as well as exercises designed to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
Prescription pain medications
The doctor can prescribe pain medications after conservative treatments have failed to alleviate your back pain. The medication prescribed depends on your needs and preferences and any other health conditions you may have.
Drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help relieve mild pain. But these medications aren’t recommended for long-term use because they don’t address the underlying condition causing your symptoms.
Suppose you have moderate to severe back pain from degenerative disc disease that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications or physical therapy. Your doctor may recommend steroid injections into the affected vertebral bodies (spinal bones) to reduce inflammation and relieve pressure on sensitive nerve roots in the spinal canal.
The above are some of the degenerative disc disease treatments. Ensure you consult your doctor before going in for any of them so they can give you a diagnosis and let you know what the procedure is all about and what the risks are.