Why Discogenic Back Pain Occurs
Back pain is often a common symptom of many disease conditions and the back pain may range from simple or dull pain to sudden and sharp pain. If the pain persists for few days, it is acute pain whereas if pain continues for more than 3 months, it is considered chronic pain. In most cases, back pain may resolve without any treatment however if pain persists for more than 3 days, medical intervention is necessary. The lumbar (lower) spine has five vertebrae with soft discs in between. Each disc is composed of a tough outer ring (annulus) surrounding a soft center (nucleus). When we are young, the discs consist predominantly of water (about 80%), but as we age, the discs lose hydration and become more susceptible to cracking and fissures called annular tears. Tears may lead to mild to severe inflammation and pain.
Understanding Discogenic Back Pain
Discogenic pain is a condition of the spine and is one of the most prevalent causes of chronic and acute back pain. You may experience only a few days of pain, or you may suffer prolonged periods of moderate to severe and recurring pain. Most discogenic pain occurs in the lumbar spine (lower back). When pain occurs, it may be spontaneous or it may result from an activity. The most frequent symptoms of discogenic pain are lower back pain and spasm of the surrounding muscle. Occasionally, pain may radiate to the buttocks, groin, or thighs. The pain may be made worse by bending, sitting, or standing in a stationary position, and often relieved by lying down. However, mild activity such as walking may actually provide some relief. Certain tasks, such as lifting or bending, will likely make the symptoms worse.
Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment
A practitioner skilled in proper diagnosis is imperatively important to your problem as an accurate diagnosis will pin-point the specific cause of your back pain.
As skilled practitioners, the Neurological Center of Northern Virginia can conduct a thorough clinical evaluation beginning with a complete medical history, a physical examination, and an analysis of specific symptoms. Tests such as an Nerve Conduction, X-Rays and MRIs are all helpful and important tools in identifying signs of disc degeneration. However, since some degenerated discs do not cause pain, skilled doctors will recognize the need for other tests, such as a discography to identify all problematic discs.
Depending on the severity, treatment options may include a conservative multi-disciplinary approach such as Anti-Inflammatory medications and physical therapy. These are generally the first steps in treating discogenic back pain. If conservative measures fail to provide the patient with significant relief, there are non-surgical options that are often successful in providing long lasting relief. Epidural nerve blocks (epidural corticosteroid injections) are very effective in resolving discogenic pain. Other office-based procedures may offer the benefit of alleviating your pain without surgery, without general anesthesia, and without hospital stays or long recovery periods.
Talk to us today. Schedule an appointment. (703) 492-7626