Severe Degenerative Disc Disease L4-L5 producing excruciating pain radiated to leg.


Q: I have Degenerative Disc Disease and have had to go to my doctor on many occasions to get the pain under control. Now for Five week, my back pain(lower right side L4 and L5 discs. Pain radiating down my right leg, newly effecting my foot and toes. Now the pain is none stop and has grown to unbearable. Should I go to the ER for this Chronic situation that the docss their are well aware of and have turned me away numerous times, though this time the pain has lasted several week?


A:   Degenerative disc disease produces changes in the vertebrae and the other spine elements as the discs producing nerve compression which is the cause of the pain. The treatment options depend on the age, severity of the pain, neurologic symptoms present and if you have some other associated health issue. The first approach is always conservative as a Physical Therapy program aimed to control pain and inflammation along with anti inflammatory medication, if there is no improvement and with time the pain is worse and intractable you should have a reevaluation by an orthopedic surgeon or spine specialist to decide if Surgery might be consider as a definitive treatment option for you.

Comments / Follow Ups

Guest: My sincere thoughts are with you as I too have the same pain in the same area. it is constant and the only time I am not in pain is when I finally go to sleep. However, it does wake me up at night as well. I have gone through two surgeries at C-5/C7 and a fusion at L-4/L5. I have learned to have pain as a constant companion. I have tried to put off further surgery but may have to surrender to it.
Guest: i ran to picked up my phone 4 days ago & after i sit down i started feeling pain in my lower left back around my waist, but didn't go for check up, do you know what could be the cause?
Guest: I have and I was told I need Decompression laminectomy for spinal stenosis surgery disc and my Insurance company says you can do everything but fusion. My Question is why would the Insurance co. doctor or phys. say I do not need fusion. The insurance answer as to why is, I do not need safety or effectorous for spinal fusion for degerate disc. what do is your thoughts and how do we get them to pay.

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