Lumbar Discogenic Back Pain: What you need to know

What is Discogenic Back Pain?

Discogenic pain is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers between the two spinal vertebrae. As people age, the intervertebral discs undergo wear and tear like the cartilages of joints. It is a natural process whose exact cause is unknown. As a result, the physical and chemical properties of discs change over time, decreasing spine stability and flexibility. The prominent symptom of these changes is lower back pain. However, not everyone with intervertebral disc degeneration has lower back pain—a phenomenon yet to be explained.

What happens in Lumbar Discogenic Pain?

The intervertebral discs have three parts: the inner nucleus pulposus, the outer annulus fibrosus, and there are end plates above and below. The inner part (nucleus pulposus) has no nerve supply. But the nerve supply of the outer third of the annulus fibrosus makes it susceptible to pain upon any damage to it. Due to the process of degeneration, cracks appear in the outer part. The gelatinous material of the nucleus pulposus enters these cracks and irritates the nerve supply. The degenerating disc also releases many pain-causing substances in addition to growth factors that result in nerve growth into the disc. All these factors lead to the inflammation of the nerves and cause pain in the lower back.

What are the causes of Discogenic Back Pain?

Many factors increase the risk of getting this condition, such as:

What are the symptoms of Lumbar Discogenic Pain?

As the name suggests, the pain is felt in the lower back (lumbar area). Everybody experiences back pain differently. The general characteristics of lumbar discogenic pain include:

Other symptoms include tenderness, back weakness, muscle spasms, and the feeling of back instability. Some people also experience numbness and tingling sensation.

How to make a diagnosis of Lumbar Discogenic Pain?

Your doctor will make the diagnosis of lumbar discogenic back pain based on a combination of the following:

What is the prognosis of Lumbar Discogenic Pain?

The prognosis of lumbar discogenic back pain is good with conservative treatments. Physical therapy, exercise, pain medications, and modifying activities relieve symptoms successfully. If pain and other symptoms remain for a longer duration (more than six months), surgery may be necessary.

What are the treatments of Lumbar Discogenic Pain?

There is no permanent cure for degenerating intervertebral discs. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and slow disease progression. Your doctor may recommend the following for this purpose: