If you’re suffering from chronic low back pain, you may be struggling to conduct your regular activities or enjoy your favorite hobbies. There are multiple possible causes of low back pain, including disc herniation, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
At Vulcan Pain Management in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Victor Mendoza provides extensive testing to pinpoint the exact cause of your back pain. In this month’s blog, he answers some frequently asked questions about the connection between degenerative disc disease and lower back pain.
What is degenerative disc disease?
Between each of your spine's bones, you have spongy discs that cushion your movements and make it possible to flex, bend, twist, lift, and run. As you get older, the discs can gradually deteriorate from wear and tear over time and make it difficult for you to move without pain.
What problems does degenerative disc disease cause?
In addition to pain in your lower back, some of the problems and symptoms that you experience with degenerative disc disease are:
- Radiating pain to your arms, hips, and buttocks
- Muscle weakness in your legs
- Spinal instability
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling and numbness in your arms and legs
As Dr. Mendoza determines if your pain is degenerative disc disease, he’ll check to see if the pain worsens when you flex, bend, twist, and move or when you change positions from sitting to standing. He’ll likely perform an X-ray to see how your nerves, muscles, and vertebrae are affected.
How is degenerative disc disease treated?
Dr. Mendoza always starts your treatment with the most conservative approach. If you are overweight, the first course of action is to get the excess weight off to relieve the extra pressure on your vertebrae. He makes recommendations for lifestyle changes that may include nutrition and exercise. He’ll also suggest modifications in your shoes, sleeping position, chairs, and computer position. For many of our patients, targeted physical therapy, chiropractic care, hot and cold therapy, and acupuncture are helpful.
If these strategies don’t bring the relief you need to function well, you may be a candidate for steroid injections, anti-inflammatories, pain medications, or laser therapy.
With years of experience helping people get out of pain so they can enjoy their life, Dr. Mendoza welcomes you to come in for a comprehensive consultation and physical exam. Call the Birmingham or Montgomery office to book an appointment or use the online booking option.