How to Know If I Have Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease?
The symptoms of lumbar degenerative disc disease are typically within three categories:
- Increasing pain from a sudden event
- Chronic pain that ebbs and flows over time
- Severe pain from loss of shock absorption between vertebrae
In the case of a sudden onset, patients report an immediate sensation that the back popped or went out. A simple, yet abnormal movement such as bending over can trigger a bulging disc. In the short term, back pain may be severe; this may be due to muscle spasms related to disc degeneration including a tear of the annular collagen bands. Although pain may be severe initially, patients will notice improvements in pain within a few days to a couple of weeks. In the case of chronic pain that ebbs and flows, patients may identify activities that aggravate the pain such as running and jumping.
Degenerative disc disease is the most common cause of lower back pain. Patients experiencing severe and even intolerable pain may have disc degeneration so complete that the disc no longer provides the necessary cushion between vertebrae. This level of pain can be extremely debilitating for patients.