All about Lumbar Disc Disease
Lumbar Disc Disease, also known as degenerative disc disease, is a common condition that affects the discs cushioning the vertebrae of the spine. The human spine is made up of 33 vertebrae stacked on top of each other. The discs, which are located between each vertebra, serve as shock absorbers for the spinal bones. These discs have a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus that surrounds the nucleus, which is a soft, jelly-like substance. The discs allow for flexibility and movement of the spine while also protecting the spinal cord and nerve roots that run through the spinal column.
As we age, our discs lose water content and become less flexible, making them more prone to degeneration. In younger individuals, discs contain a lot of water, but as people age, the water content decreases, and the discs become less flexible. This loss of water content causes the discs to contract, and the spaces between the vertebrae narrow. As the discs degenerate, they become less able to absorb shock and can become more vulnerable to damage.
In addition to natural degeneration due to aging, Lumbar Disc Disease can also be caused by a traumatic event, such as a fall or a sudden injury. These events can cause the disc to slip or rupture, which can lead to severe discomfort.
Symptoms of Lumbar Disc Disease can vary depending on the location of the affected disc and the nerve root that it’s pressing on. Common symptoms include back pain that comes and goes, muscle spasms, sciatica, weakness in leg muscles, numbness in the leg or foot, impaired reflexes, and changes in bowel or bladder function. If the slipped disc is in the neck, patients may experience neck pain with associated arm symptoms (rather than sciatica which is pain radiating down the leg). If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly.
Treatment for Lumbar Disc Disease can range from conservative options, such as medication and physiotherapy, to more advanced treatments, such as spinal injections and surgical options. Medication may include over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription anti-inflammatory medication. Physiotherapy can help relieve nerve pressure and improve circulation, and may include exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen. Spinal injections can reduce nerve swelling and inflammation, which can help to alleviate symptoms experienced in the legs.
Surgical optionsmay be necessary if conservative treatments fail to provide relief. Surgical options for Lumbar Disc Disease include discectomy, laminectomy, artificial disc surgery, and spinal fusion. Microdiscectomy and endoscopic discectomy are surgical procedures used to remove a prolapsed (slipped) disc. Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part of the bone around a degenerated disc to widen the spinal canal. Artificial disc surgery involves replacing a damaged, degenerated disc with an artificial disc. Spinal fusion involves the direct joining of two or more vertebrae to strengthen the spine, usually with the aid of rods and screws.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of Lumbar Disc Disease, it’s important to seek professional treatment from an experienced spine expert. Dr Sherief Elsayed is a well-known spinal surgeon in Dubai, who specializes in the treatment of spinal conditions. He has a high success rate in slipped disc surgery and uses a discreet approach and advanced techniques to treat his patients.
Book an appointment with Dr Sherief Elsayed today to discuss your treatment options.