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Homepage > Diseases > Lumbar Disc Degeneration

What is Lumbar Disc Degeneration


Degeneration ; It can be briefly defined as tissue degradation. Disc degeneration can also be considered as the deterioration of the intervertebral disc between our spinal bones. G enetic transition and aging are important risk factors. Along with disc degeneration, degeneration is seen in the spinal joints and ligaments over time.

The exact cause of the degenerative change in the lumbar disc is unknown. But; The following factors play a role in its development:

  • Decrease in disc nutrition

  • Enzymes and inflammatory mediators that cause degeneration

  • Apoptosis (Cell death)

  • Excessive load on the spine

  • The aging process


The degenerative process of the disc usually begins before the age of 20. With the decrease in the fluid content of the degenerative disc, the height of the intervertebral disc also decreases. Decrease in water and proteoglycan content, decrease in proteins produced in cells within the disc; it causes the gel structure to deteriorate. The stiffness of the nucleus is reduced and it becomes more compressed. Intradiscal pressure decreases. Bulging occurs radially outward. The hydrostatic pressure we see in a healthy disc does not show a uniform distribution in the degenerated disc. Generally, it points in one direction. The increased loading towards the peripheral areas further increases the degeneration. The likelihood of injury increases. Over time, degenerative disc disease increases the tension even more and causes annular tears in neighboring discs.


Symptoms in Lumbar Disc Degeneration


The symptoms of disc degeneration are similar to those caused by a herniated disc. Most patients do not cause any complaints for a long time. The symptoms are:


  • Low back pain, leg pain, loss of strength

  • Low back pain that increases with position change and waist movements

  • While leaning forward increases the complaints, backward leaning relieves the patient.


Diagnosis in Lumbar Disc Degeneration


MRI is used in the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. MRI findings are narrowing in the disc space, sclerosis in the endplates, vacuum phenomenon and sclerosis, signal loss in the nucleus pulposus, endplate changes, and T2 signal loss secondary to degeneration in the disc.


Treatment of Lumbar Disc Degeneration


  • Analgesic anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants

  • Physiotheraphy

  • Waist exercises

  • Massage therapy

  • Epidural steroid injections


Spinal fusion surgery can be performed if the above mentioned treatments do not work. In other words, fixing the spine with titanium screw and rod implants is an effective treatment method in reducing the pain complaints of the patient.

Dr. Tamer Tekin

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