Lumbar Disc Syndrome
Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
As with most lumbar disc disorders, multiple factors contribute to an individual’s low back pain. This can be from injury and trauma to genetic components and aging. Even so, lumbar disc syndrome, also referred to as lumbar disc disease or degenerative disc disease, is a collection of degenerative disorders of the spine. Specifically, when the spongy intervertebral disc material begins to dry out, or when a disc is disrupted or unstable, it loses its ability to absorb weight and movement.
To better understand, the intervertebral discs of an aging spine lose water content. Dry edges are prone to crack or tear, which affects the ability of the disc to properly support the weight and movement associated with everyday activities. When the disc collapses, surrounding structures such as the vertebra and facet joints are affected. As degenerative changes continue, the ligaments and surrounding soft tissues are disrupted, resulting in a breakdown of the normal stability of the spine at that particular segment.
Surprising to some, individuals with lumbar disc syndrome may begin experiencing pain between the ages of 20-50. In the majority of cases, pain doesn’t stem from a traumatic injury or episode. Rather, pain is progressive, beginning with soreness or tenderness in the low back that comes and goes. Yet, as degenerative changes continue, individuals experience persistent pain that worsens, traveling to the buttocks and thighs. Pain and discomfort usually increase with activity.
Non-Surgical Treatment of Lumbar Disc Syndrome
Favoring a conservative, non-surgical protocol for lumbar disc syndrome, physiatrists are well positioned to discern and thus coordinate individualized treatment plans that focus on improving a patient’s level of functioning. Pain from lumbar disc syndrome and/or disorders are generally caused by rigidity or instability at the motion segment of the spine paired with inflammation of the disc. Thus, effective treatment of lumbar disc disease is designed to address these concerns first.
Physiatrists take a multidisciplinary approach that often includes a team of medical professionals. These include clinicians, physical and occupational therapists and interventionists to optimize patient care. Once inflammation is under control, physiatrists will advise additional rehabilitation for the patient. Specific treatments may utilize ice and heat therapy, exercise and stretching. Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxers are often part of treatment as patients build tolerance for additional forms of therapy. Epidural steroid injections, though not a cure-all, are also effective at reducing inflammation. While treatment may consist of inpatient and outpatient modalities, the emphasis will remain on empowering the patient during recovery.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
To schedule your appointment with Dr. Liss, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Englewood today.