Disc Degeneration

Disc degeneration is a common cause of lower back pain. Discs are the shock-absorbing cushions between each vertebra in your spine. As we age, our discs lose their ability to absorb shock and can become damaged or ruptured. This damage causes inflammation and irritation in the discs and surrounding tissues, which can lead to pain.
Stages of Spinal Disc Degeneration

What are the Common Symptoms of Disc Degeneration?

Disc degeneration usually does not cause symptoms until it has progressed to a certain point. However, there are some symptoms that can indicate that you may have disc degeneration:


  • Lower back pain that increases with standing or walking
  • Pain that radiates down the leg
  • Weakness or numbness in the leg or foot
  • Tingling sensation that travels up the leg
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
Spine surgeon with spine model

Common Causes of Disc Degeneration

Drying out

The spinal discs are made up of a gel-like liquid that absorbs shock as you move around. When this substance dries out, it loses its ability to hold together and can break apart, causing pain and stiffness.

Things like falls and car accidents can cause damage to the discs in your spine, leading to disc degeneration later on down the road.
Daily activities and movements can cause cracks in the outer layer of the disc. These small tears allow the inner gel to leak out, causing pain and inflammation.

Known Treatments for Disc Degeneration

If other treatments fail, surgery may be needed for more severe cases of disc degeneration where discs have completely collapsed or broken apart.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help reduce inflammation in the affected area.

Physical Therapy
This can help improve strength and flexibility while reducing stiffness in the affected area.
Steroid Shots
These can be used to reduce inflammation of the affected area by injecting steroids directly into the inflamed tissue.

Schedule an Appointment for with a Minnesota Disc Degeneration Specialist Today

Contact Dr. Hart Garner today and schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options for spinal disc degeneration.