Lumbar disc degeneration is a natural process of aging and affects most adults older than age 50. It refers to the normal ongoing deterioration of the discs of the lumbar spine (lower back).

Since there is a lot of movement of the lumbar spine while performing routine activities, such as walking and sitting, this region of the spine is very susceptible to severe wear and tear on the discs and the cartilage lining of the facet joints.

Lumbar disc degeneration may result in back or neck pain, but this varies from person to person.

Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have disabling pain or spinal instability which limits their activities.

Common symptoms include pain, weakness, numbness, tingling or discomfort in the back, buttocks, legs and feet. The pain may worsen with movements such as bending over, lifting an object, or twisting. However, over a long period of time, the pain from lumbar disc degeneration will eventually decrease because a fully degenerated disc no longer has proteins that can cause inflammation and pain.

Lumbar disc degeneration may contribute to the development of lumbar stenosis, lumbar osteoarthritis, or may lead to a lumbar herniated disc.

The spine specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group provide advanced diagnostic procedures and the latest therapies and treatments for lumbar disc degeneration and many other spinal injuries and conditions.

Conservative treatment of lumbar disc degeneration may include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and facet joint injections. Patients may help themselves by losing weight, exercising to build the back and stomach muscles, doing yoga or swimming.

If nonsurgical methods are not successful at relieving symptoms, surgery, such as spinal fusion, may be an option.