Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

The discs between each vertebra are made of cartilage that holds a jellylike substance. With age, discs begin to break down. When this happens in the lower back, it’s called lumbar degenerative disc disease.

The lower back, or lumbar spine, starts at your lowest rib and reaches to the top of your pelvis. There are five vertebrae bones surrounding the spinal cord with spongy, doughnut-shaped discs serving as cushions between the bones.

The discs get drier and thinner with time, impairing their shock-absorbing function. They also crack and develop tiny tears in the outer wall near nerves. A rupture in the wall allows the gel inside to ooze out and irritate nearby nerves. All of these changes can cause pain, numbness or weakness.

Lumbar disc degeneration also affects the facet joints at the back of the vertebrae, and ligaments that support the spine. The degeneration can lead to spondylolisthesis or scoliosis and compress nerves in the spine — this is called spinal stenosis, which causes pain, numbness and tingling in the legs.

Norton Neuroscience Institute spine specialists are experienced in treating lumbar degenerative disc disease.

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

A herniated or bulging lumbar disc can compress nerves, leading to pain and numbness in the legs.

Many nonsurgical treatments can eliminate lumbar degenerative disc pain. Options include:

  • Cold/heat therapy
  • Therapy to help you better understand and manage your pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • Mental health therapy to help you cope with your condition
  • Injections to reduce swelling around a nerve

Surgery is considered for patients who have not gotten relief or whose symptoms have worsened. Surgical options include:

  • Surgery to relieve pressure on the compressed nerves: This procedure can be performed with a minimally invasive approach that can allow for faster rehabilitation.
  • Surgical fusion to stabilize the spine is another option to ease pressure on the nerves.

Care That’s Focused on You

  • We offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours.
  • No referral is needed.
  • With 11 offices in Louisville and surrounding areas, including Southern Indiana, we’re close to home or work.
  • Norton Neurosciences & Spine Rehabilitation Center is the only center in Louisville dedicated to outpatient neurological and spine rehabilitation.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center offers free classes and support to patients and their families.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.

Why Norton Neuroscience Institute for Your Spine Care Services

  • Our experienced team includes 11 board-certified neurosurgeons, 12 advanced practice providers, neuro-spine specialized rehabilitation therapists and pain management specialists.
  • We are nationally recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.
  • We offer comprehensive care ranging from nonsurgical treatments to the most advanced surgical technologies, including minimally invasive approaches and robotic-assisted surgery.
  • Surgery is considered only after trying noninvasive treatments.
  • Our physicians and advanced practice providers are skilled in pinpointing your diagnosis, offering the right care and working to get you back to feeling yourself.
Neuro spine

See a Spine Care Specialist

Audubon, Downtown and Regional Locations

(502) 583-1697

Brownsboro and St. Matthews Locations

(502) 394-6390

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