Lumbar degenerative disc disease is when the spinal discs on the lumbar vertebrae break down through cracks and tears or through the loss of fluid in the discs, according to WebMD. Patients can also experience degenerative disc disease, or DDD, along the other areas of their spine.
The degenerative disease is technically not a disease, but rather a normal part of aging. However, the condition can lead to back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, herniated discs or spinal stenosis. Most patients are treated at home with medication, exercise and physical therapy. Some patients will also try holistic therapies, such as acupressure, acupuncture and nutritional supplements. However, if symptoms persist for more than 6 months, surgery may be needed, reports Spine-Health.
Doctors diagnose the condition by first performing a physical examination and obtaining a full medical history, states Mayfield Clinic. Next, tests are administered, such as MRI scans, discograms, X-rays, myelograms and CT scans. A neurosurgeon, orthopedist or neurologist may also need to be consulted. For patients who need surgical treatment, usually an intradiscal electrothermal therapy procedure or a spinal fusion procedure is recommended. These are only recommended for patients who are in severe pain who cannot find relief.