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What are the symptoms of degenerative disc disease?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 43 Questions
Hi results from my MRI are L2/3 central posterior annulus tear & tiny posterior disc protrusion indenting the thcal sac without neural compression or foraminal narrorwing. At L3/4 shallow central left/paracentral posterior disc protrusion which flattens ventral aspect of thecal sac. No foraminal narrowing or verve root compression. At L4/5 broad based posterior disc bulge & left posterolateral shallow disc protrusion which abuts left L4 nerve outside foramen. No foraminal narrowing. Mild flattening of ventral aspect of thecal sac. At L5/s1 there is substantial loss of disc height association with broad based posterior disc bulge. No foraminal narrowing or nerve root compression. Some facet joint degeneration at L4/5 & L5/Sa, no sponylolysis. Have had a couple of acute episodes. Don't know what this all means and what impact it will have on me day to day. I am mainly sitting at desk working on computer. I am 53 year old & would like to know what treatment can be done & if any type of light exercise will help, many thanks
Posted Fri, 27 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sangeet 14 hours later

Thanks for your query.

Your MRI is suggestive of Degenerative disc disease. I don't intend to make you apprehensive about it.

Its a disease which comes with age. It affects the disc(a cushion between each of your spine bones) leading to its disruption. This disrupted disc, often presses on the surrounding nerves which supply your legs, urinary bladder and bowels.

However, your MRI isn't suggestive of any nerve root compression. Kindly state what are your current problems, so I could help you better.

I would also advise you to check your Calcium, Vitamin D levels and preferably DEXA Scan (checks your bone strength) as Osteoporosis starts setting in by 50-60 years.

Meanwhile you can follow these measures if you have back pain:
- If the pain is severe, you need bed rest till the pain resolves.
- Get some analgesics prescribed and apply analgesic spray or ointments.
- While resting, keep a pillow under your knees if it doesn't bother you.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Back strengthening exercises and stretching exercises for your hamstrings daily as advised by a Physiotherapist.
- Avoid exercises in times of pain.
- Improvise your posture while sitting.

Kindly let me know your current issues.

Please don't worry.

Wish you good health.

Thank you.
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