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Lumbar Disc Disease

What is Lumbar Disc Disease?

Low back pain is a very common complaint in the aging population. Fortunately, most episodes of low back pain are self-limiting and resolve within approximately six weeks, regardless of treatment.

In most cases of lower back pain, no specific imaging studies or treatment is needed. It is important to first rule out any serious causes of low back pain that need further evaluation by a doctor. "Red flags" (or clues that something more serious could be causing the low back pain) include the following warning signs:

  • Age younger than 20 years or older than 50 years
  • Major trauma
  • History of cancer or recent infection
  • Pain worse at night
  • Change in bowel or bladder control
  • Use of intravenous drugs
  • Progressive neurologic deficit or weakness

Along with serious conditions suggested by the above warning signs, there are many other causes of low back pain. In fact, many patients with low back pain are never formally diagnosed with a specific cause.

Lumbar disc disease refers to a collection of degenerative disorders that can lead to low back pain as people age. It is also know as lumbar spondylosis. There are three main processes that make up lumbar disc disease:

  • Internal disc disruption
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Segmental instability

This article discusses lumbar disc disease, along with its clinical features, typical diagnostic steps, and treatment options.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2015

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