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Posted by Redefine Healthcare on 05/26/2020

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment


Anatomy & Background

Intervertebral Disc

The intervertebral disc is a fibrocartilaginous structure found between the bodies of the vertebra. There is a disc between each pair of vertebra in the lumbar spine.

Think of this disc as being a jelly doughnut: there are the outer fibrous rings that surround a soft inside. The outer annular rings are thinnest posterior and lateral. Most disc herniations occur here due to the weakness of the disc wall. The disc functions as a cushion, allows for movement, and serves as a cartilaginous joint between adjacent vertebrae.

Inflammation, damage or degeneration of a disc can cause a range of symptoms that vary based on the severity of the problem. The lumbar fourth and fifth (L4-L5), and lumbar fifth and sacrum (L5-S1) levels have the highest rate of disc degeneration and herniation.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is not an actual disease but is the term used to describe the progression of changes, gradual wear-and-tear, and dysfunction associated with symptoms secondary to disc degeneration. Degeneration of the disc is normal with aging but can be accelerated in certain situations as a result of trauma, repetitive strain or injury and musculo-skeletal imbalances like scoliosis. Disc degeneration itself is not a problem, but the associated conditions that may develop as it progresses can be symptomatic and debilitating.

Stages of Disc Degeneration

The progression of disc degeneration can be classified in the following phases:

1. Dysfunction

  • he annular rings of the disc begin to tear and with that irritation of the facet joints at the corresponding spinal level may occur.
  • A loss of joint mobility, localized back pain, muscle spasms, and a loss of movement especially extension or backward motions.

2. Instability

  • A loss of disc fluid with dehydration and disc narrowing. The facet joints and capsule may develop laxity resulting in instability.
  • A patient will present with pain, sharp catching, giving way, a shift in spinal alignment and loss of motion.

3. Restabilization

  • The body reacts to the instability by laying down bone in the form of osteophytes to stabilize the spine. This increase in bone formation can result in Stenosis.
  • Back pain will usually decrease, but remain present in a less severe form. Individuals may develop stenotic-like symptoms in the legs, with weakness and difficulty walking and standing for extended periods of time.


  • Aging is the most common cause of disc degeneration. As the body ages the discs start to lose fluid and dehydrate. The discs start to narrow and lose their height, compromising their ability to absorb shock and stress.
  • The outer fibrous annular rings may begin to crack and tear, weakening the disc walls.
  • Individuals who smoke, are obese, or are involved in activities that require heavy labor are more likely to develop disc degeneration.
  • A sudden fall or trauma to the spine or disc may begin the degenerative process.
  • A disc herniation may initiate the stages of disc degeneration. Unlike muscles, there is minimal blood supply to the discs, so they lack reparative ability.

Read more: https://redefinehealthcare.com/lumbar-degenerative-disc-disease-new-jersey/

If you are in pain we can help. If you have any questions for our team of top pain management specialists in New Jersey, please contact us by phone at: (732) 906-9600

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Redefine Healthcare

Union Office:
2500 Morris Ave,
Union, NJ 07083
(732) 906-9600

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Edison Office:

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Edison, NJ 08837
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Thursday: 8AM - 5PM
Friday: 8AM - 5PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

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Read more: https://www.zocdoc.com/professional/eric-freeman-do-111085

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