Regis W. Haid, Jr., MD, Spine Surgeon
Degenerative disc disease refers to a syndrome in which a damaged disc causes low back pain. Lumbar degenerative disc disease often starts with a twisting injury to the lower back, for example when a person rotates their body while lifting, or even swinging a golf club. The pain is also frequently caused by simple wear and tear on the spine.
Degenerative disc disease is fairly common. Researchers estimate that at least 30% of people aged 30-50 years old will have some degree of disc space degeneration, although many will experience no pain or ever receive a formal diagnosis. After a patient reaches 60, some level of disc degeneration is considered normal in healthy individuals. Where there are no symptoms, treatment is naturally unnecessary.
Most patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease will experience continuous but tolerable pain that will occasionally flare (intensify) for a few days or more. Pain symptoms may vary, but usually are:
As with most spinal degenerative diseases, the first line of treatment typically involves medications and/or physical therapy. Chiropractic manipulation and/or steroid injections may also be tried. Surgery is normally considered only when the patient has not achieved relief over six months of conservative care and/or are significantly hampered in performing everyday activities. Surgical treatment of lumbar degenerative disc disease normally involves fusion of the discs involved.
Dr. Haid assesses the use of Minimally Invasive Spine Procedures where ever they may be appropriate. His experience in the area of lumbar disease is unexcelled. If you want to learn more about Dr. Haid's contribution to spinal surgery, you may wish to visit the Patents and Innovations or the Teaching the Next Generation areas of this website.