Lumbar Spine Condition

What may be causing your back and leg pain?

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Normally the discs between the vertebrae provide the cushioning space that keeps the bones separated. Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition that can occur when a disc in your spine no longer functions normally because of aging, wear, or from being injured. The disc may shrink and lose height which can cause pain or make the spinal joint unstable. A worn out disc or spinal joint can also press on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord which may cause leg or back pain when you move certain ways.

See diagram showing the difference between a healthy disc and a degenerated disc.

DDD can often be treated non-surgically with medications, physical therapy, spinal injections, chiropractic care, braces, exercise programs, or rest. However, in some cases, the symptoms may not improve or may get worse, and then your doctor may suggest surgery.

Diagram showing healthy disc vs. degenerative disc

Lumbar Spine Resources for Patients and Caregivers