Lumbar discopathy is considered a modern-age disease. Low back pain is the leading cause of sickness absence worldwide. It is safe to say that this condition affects almost everyone. Discopathy is associated with inactivity and a sedentary, passive lifestyle.
Discopathy results from mechanical damage to the discs, or intervertebral discs. The most common symptom of lumbar discopathy is severe pain felt in the lower back.
We can distinguish two main types of pain syndromes associated with lumbar discopathy:
- lower back pain (also known as axial, mechanical or lumbalgia)
- pain radiating to one or both lower limbs
Stereotypically, the condition is seen as a disease affecting the elderly, but it is increasingly being diagnosed in young people who spend a lot of time in front of the computer or in the car and work in a forced and unnatural position.
Causes of lumbar discopathy:
The main cause of lumbar discopathy is related to the body’s natural ageing process. In a nutshell, it involves the accumulation of mechanical micro-traumas that alter the structure of the spine over time.
Identified factors that may influence the onset of discopathy are:
- passive lifestyle, lack of physical activity
- spending a lot of time in front of the computer
- unhealthy diet low in minerals
- anatomical structure (e.g. narrow spinal canal)
- working in a forced and unnatural position (e.g. driver)
Symptoms of lumbar discopathy:
The main symptom of the disease is severe pain in the lumbar and lumbosacral regions of the spine, which can develop into a chronic condition over time. Often the pain may be accompanied by numbness and sensory disturbances in the lower limbs and paresis of specific muscle groups. The pain increases when walking, but decreases when lying down. Patients may also notice a curvature of the spine towards the painful area and strong tension in the paraspinal muscles. Severe and intractable pain makes daily activities difficult.
Treatment methods for lumbar discopathy
Lumbar discopathy can be treated conservatively or surgically depending on the extent of degenerative changes, the intensity of pain and its duration. The main aim of non-operative treatment is to reduce pain and support the body’s natural regenerative processes.
Conservative treatment (non-operative)
The primary form of treatment for lumbar discopathy is the use of specialist rehabilitation. At the VM hospital we successfully use, among other things, manual methods such as FDM, Stecco and physiotherapy, for example SIS – Super Inductive System. The specialist also implements pharmacotherapy, consisting of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Rest is also recommended during the acute period.
The main indication for surgical treatment is severe and prolonged pain radiating to the lower limbs that does not resolve despite conservative treatment for 3-6 weeks. The aim of surgical treatment is to eliminate pressure on adjacent nerve structures. The method of surgical treatment is determined by the neurosurgeon on the basis of a detailed medical history, physical examination and diagnostic imaging (X-ray, NMR or CT). Available treatment methods include classical and minimally invasive procedures such as microdiscectomy and endoscopic techniques, etc. At the Vratislavia Medica hospital, the vast majority of operations are performed using minimally invasive methods, which bring great benefits to the patient.
The benefits of treatment with minimally invasive methods include:
- little interference with the bone and joint system of the spine
- complete and thorough removal of discopathy
- quick verticalization – already the same day
- short recovery period
- quick return to work
If you are experiencing severe back pain, don’t ignore it, see a neurosurgeon for a consultation to find the right form of treatment for you.
Available treatment methods: