What to Do Once You’ve Been Diagnosed with Discogenic Disease

What to Do Once You’ve Been Diagnosed with Discogenic Disease

What is Discogenic Disease?

The spine is made up of vertebrae. Discogenic disease is also known as degenerative disc disease, and this disease occurs when one or more discs of the vertebrae of the spinal column begins to break down or deteriorate. Therefore, patients will often experience weakness, numbness, and sometimes pain radiating down the leg. Though coined with the term disease, it is more a natural occurrence related to aging. There are rubbery discs between the vertebrae that absorb shock, allowing flexing and bending; however, when it becomes thinner and worn over time, the same movements become painful (Nordqvist, C, 2017, May 08).

What are Symptoms of Discogenic Disease?

Pain can range from mild to debilitating, and sometimes may not cause any symptoms. Patients will experience pain and weakness in the back, which may radiate to other parts of the body. Specifically, if the disc damage is near the lower back region or the lumbar spine area, pain will be present in the buttocks or upper thighs. If the damage is near the neck or cervical spine, the pain can spread to the shoulders, arm, and hands. Instability in the spine may lead to muscle spasms in addition to sudden outbursts of intense pain (Institute, L. S, n.d.).

What are My Treatment Options?

After being diagnosed with discogenic disease, individuals should understand what led to its development. Factors such as obesity, strenuous physical work, tobacco smoking, or an acute injury like a fall can all increase the chances of the disease developing. Depending on the current individual progression of the disease, doctors will typically begin with more conservative treatment options such as rest, hot and cold compression, over-the-counter medication, physical therapy and spinal injections. Certain positions, lifting weights, and a corset or brace are lifestyle changes that may help relieve pain as well.

A more intense treatment option for severe cases is surgery. Doctors may recommend surgery if all conservative options failed to improve the quality of living or has not relieved pain. Typically, if the conservative therapies do not help within 3 months, surgery will be recommended. There are two surgery options: stabilization surgery (spinal fusion) or decompression surgery.

  • Stabilization Surgery or Spinal Fusion: Two vertebrae are fused together to provide stability for the spine; most common in the lower back and neck area.
  • Decompression Surgery: Options to remove part of the joint of the disc to relieve pressure on nerves.

If you are suffering from back pain or suspect you may have discogenic disease, visit the Advanced Pain Institute in Encino, California. Doctor Isaac MineHart, MD is Board Certified in Pain Medicine, and will help return you to a good quality of life, relieving you of any back pain you may be experiencing. Call (818) 784-3125 to make an appointment with Dr. MineHart today.



Institute, L. S. (n.d.). What Is Degenerative Discogenic Disease? Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.laserspineinstitute.com/back_problems/spinal_anatomy/degenerative/


Nordqvist, C. (2017, May 08). Degenerative disc disease: Causes and treatment options. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266630.php

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