BPS 22: What you Need to Know about Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)?

Lumbar degenerative disc disease result in lower back pain. The disease is age-related that occur due to wear and tear of the spinal disc. In this post, you will learn about the pain in the back that occurs due to pain in the vertebrae.

About Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Intervertebral discs are fibrous, tough structures. they act as ligaments between the vertebrae. The disc absorb pressure thereby acting as a shock absorber. The discs are flexible but strong enough to allow movements such as bending backward, forward, and side to side.

Lumbar degenerative disc disease is a misnomer. The reason is that it’s neither a disease nor the symptoms of the condition worsen over time. The discs stiffen naturally with age due to wear and tear. Everyone experience some form of disc degeneration. Due to stiffening of the spinal disc, an individual can experience different spinal disc problems, including lumbar degenerative disc disease.

Components of Intervertebral Disc

An understanding of the intervertebral disc that undergoes degermation will help in better understanding of the condition.

An intervertebral disc is composed of three main parts. These include the following.

  • -Nucleus Pulposus — The interior of the disc is called nucleus pulposus. It is a gel-like mixture of proteins and water. The disc interior provides cushioning between the vertebral parts.
  • -Annulus Fibrosis — The exterior of the disc called the annulus fibrosis consist of disc like concentric rings. The rings twist and bend with the movement of the spine.
  • -Cartilaginous Endplates — Between the spinal disc and the vertebra is the endplates called cartilaginous endplates. The endplates are made of a cartilage that control oxygen flow into the disc space.

Most cases of lumbar disc degenerative disease occur due to the wear and tear of the intervertebral disc. The nerve roots do not penetrate the outer part of the disc. As a result, the disc don’t have self-healing properties.

Due to a damage in the disc the nutrition is not provided properly through the cartilaginous endplates. This makes the disc small and inflexible and prone to wear and tear. due to the wear and tear in one disc, the structure of the lumbar spine surrounding the disc changes.

Symptoms of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Lumbar degenerative disc disease result in lower back pain. The pain can be intermittent or continuous. It can also be tolerable and acute. The pain may also seem to radiate from the lower back to upper thighs, buttocks, and the groin area. The intensity of the pain due to lumbar degenerative disc disease can be mild, dull, and achy. The pain can range from severe to mild.

A spinal specialist may carry on a detailed physical examination to diagnose the condition. Depending on the condition, an appropriate treatment plan will be prescribed. The treatment plan for lumbar degenerative disc disease consist of surgical and nonsurgical options. The cause of the disease and the intensity of pain will determine the exact treatment plan.


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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
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