Diagnosis and Treatment of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease in Central GA

What is Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease?

If you commonly experience low back pain that comes and goes, you may be suffering from lumbar degenerative disc disease. Most adults over 40 experience some level of disc degeneration along the spine or neck. This degenerative process is a normal part of aging since the spinal discs are subject to wear and tear throughout a person’s life. When the cushioning between the vertebrae starts to wear away, the bones begin to rub against each other and cause noticeable symptoms. Lumbar degenerative disc disease refers to the wear and tear of the spinal discs of the lower back. Fortunately, treatment for degenerative disc disease can often alleviate symptoms and get patients back to enjoying their everyday activities. At OrthoGeorgia, our board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeons have years of experience identifying and treating all manner of back and neck problems, including lumbar degenerative disc disease. Learn more below and contact the OrthoGeorgia location nearest you to get access to comprehensive spine care.

What are the Symptoms of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease affecting the lumbar spine often causes constant, low-grade back pain that does not severely interfere with daily activities. However, the pain can be distracting, especially when it intensifies. When pain flares up, some patients may notice reduced mobility. The area may also be tender and sore. If the disc space collapses enough to pinch a nerve root in the spine, patients may experience additional symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or sharp pain in the hips or legs. Pain may also worsen with sitting, bending, or lifting.

Diagnosis of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease at OrthoGeorgia

If you think you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a spine specialist at OrthoGeorgia. When you visit us, your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms, such as where your pain occurs and what makes it better or worse. Your doctor will also talk to you about your orthopaedic medical history and other symptoms that may be present.

Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may also help to reach a diagnosis. These tests allow your doctor to assess the state and alignment of your lumbar discs. Other components of a physical exam for degenerative disc disease may include your doctor asking you to walk or bend to see which movements trigger pain, along with conducting tests focused on your strength and range of motion. Once a diagnosis is reached, our team in Central GA will create a personalized treatment plan for you.

Treatment of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease in Central GA

Those experiencing back pain caused by disc degeneration normally have both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain, stabilize the spine, and improve mobility using various techniques.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

Initial treatment for disc degeneration of the lumbar spine is often focused on pain relief. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications to reduce inflammation and pain. If OTC medications do not help, you may be prescribed muscle relaxants or stronger painkillers by your doctor. The application of heat and ice to the lower back can also be helpful – this process improves circulation and can reduce muscle spasms and tension in the back. Another nonsurgical treatment path for degenerative disc disease is physical therapy, which can be extremely effective in reducing pain and supporting healthy spine mobility. At OrthoGeorgia, we proudly offer our patients access to state-of-the-art physical therapy services and care provided by our licensed physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. Exercises focused on stretching and strengthening the back muscles can help patients find relief from their lower back pain.

Surgical Treatment for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

In most cases, lumbar degenerative disc disease can be successfully addressed without surgical intervention. If a patient has tried nonsurgical treatment methods for months without seeing results, surgery may be considered. If surgery is the best next step for you, your doctor will walk you through your options and ensure that any questions you have are answered. Surgical options for degenerative disc disease of the lower spine can include:

  • Discectomy – the diseased part of the disc is removed to relieve nerve pressure
  • Artificial disc replacement – the full spinal disc is removed and replaced with a prosthesis
  • Lumbar spinal fusion – two vertebrae are grafted together to eliminate motion at the spinal segment
  • Laminectomy – a small portion of bone is removed from the lower spine

Other Spine and Back Conditions We Treat at OrthoGeorgia

At OrthoGeorgia, our orthopaedic spine specialists work with patients of all ages to identify and address injuries and conditions of the back and neck. We want to help you and your loved ones live the most active and comfortable lives free from back pain and discomfort. Conditions that our spine surgeons specialize in include:

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OrthoGeorgia has me back in the driver seat.

“Dr.Schnetzer he did surgery on me, very good doctor. That's the doctor you want to work on you, somebody that go in and see a problem, and fix it. It's the same thing I do in my passion with cars."

Nick C. Buckhalter

Orthopaedic Spine Specialists at OrthoGeorgia

Dr. William Brooks headshot
William W. Brooks, MD
Dr. William Dasher headshot
William B. Dasher III, MD
Dr. Wayne Kelley headshot
Wayne Kelley Jr., MD
Dr. Ryan Schnetzer headshot
Ryan E. Schnetzer, MD

Spine Care Locations

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Spine Center

3708 Northside Drive, Building B, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

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Warner Robins Urgent Care

301 Margie Drive, Warner Robins, GA 31088

Call (478) 971-1153

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Kathleen Orthopaedic Center

2510 GA-127, Kathleen, GA 31047

Call (478) 971-1153

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OrthoGeorgia Milledgeville office

2803 North Columbia Street, Suite D, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Call (478) 414-5820

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Dublin Orthopaedic

109 Fairview Park Drive, Suite B, Dublin, GA 31021

Call (478) 745-4206

Awards and Affiliations

Viewers Choice 2024
The Telegraph Best of 2021
Greater Macon Business of Year
Go Beyond Proffit Member
Top 100
AAAHC Accreditation
ACR Radiology Computed
ACR Radiology Magnetic
ACR Radiology Magnetic
TheOrthoForum Member
Greater Macon Business of Year