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Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Dr. Gaurav Khera 90% (23 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), DNB - Orthopedics, mch
Orthopedist, Delhi  •  14 years experience
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Different methods to treat Disc problems

Hello friends, I am Dr Gaurav Khera. I am an orthopaedic surgeon, doing joint replacements and spine surgeries at the Access healthcare. Now today I will be talking about the lumbar degenerative disc disease. Now it sounds very big, but it is not as complicated as it sounds. It basically is what you people commonly know as a disc disease. So it is a fairly common problem that is seen in our population today. In fact about 30 or 40% of the patients who come to our OPD have lower back pains, some have other disc problems and very commonly seen after 40 years of age and this incidence gradually increases up to 60-70 years of age. The other ecological factors which are associated with this are, first of all smoking, secondly it is, mild to moderate trauma, thirdly its seen in people who lift heavy weights, fourth is obesity, especially central obesity, that is if you have a very heavy waistline.

Now what is Lumbar degenerative disc disease? Now, our spine is composed of multiple bones, which are starting from your neck and they come all the way down to your hip, divided into the cervical, dorsal, lumbar and sacral spine. And between these bones, there are these small pieces of discs, which act as cushions. When your body walks, these act as shock absorbers between your body’s bones. Now this discs, when these come out of their normal place, it gives or presses against the nerves which are passing through these areas and it causes pain. This is what happens in the disc disease. Basically, in the patient it will come as a lower back pain, and this pain will be travelling down to the hip, and it will also be coming down to the legs. Some people complain that as they walk, the pain increases.

They also complain of tingling numbness. They complain that sometimes their fingers or their toes are feeling numb. These are some of the very common symptoms which are being seen. Few people may have only lower back pain, and these are the people who do not have very significant disc disease. Now there are two main causes of the disc disease. First is an inflammatory reaction that occurs in the disc, and second is the micro motion instabilities that occur. Inflammatory reactions may occur as a result of some small traumas which may occur such as when you may injure your back. Such inflammatory reactions occur in the form of small swellings in the body. And micro motion instabilities are when the body ages, the disc which has an outer fibrous thick layer, that degenerates, and as it degenerates, the pulp which is there at the centre, of the discs, tends to degenerate. What I mean is it comes out of its normal space. And as it comes out of the normal place, it comes and tends to press on the nerves and these are the two most common causes.

All disc patients are not to be operated. When we get these patients, the first and foremost investigation that we do is a X-Ray. And if required, we go in for a MRI. Frankly MRI is the known standard to diagnose the disc disease. The findings of a MRI are always coordinated with the clinical findings. Once we have diagnosed that it is a disc problem, we have to establish that what the compression on the nerves is. If the nerve compression is a lot, and if we think that we cannot do anything other than surgery, then we take the patient for a surgery.

If not, we take the patient fro physiotherapy, lifestyle changes and few medications. These medications may carry on for few weeks to few months. And a lot of exercise has to be carried on regularly. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, stoppage of smoking is very important. And if you can achieve this, then your problems are very easily solved. If you have any queries regarding your disc problems or back pains, then you can get in touch with me for the same.

You can reach me in my clinic, which is there in Indrapuri, by the name of Dr Khera’s Wellness Clinic or you can also contact me through Lybrate for the same. Thank You.
 

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