Discogenic lower back pain and sciatica

Discogenic lower back pain and sciatica are two closely related issues that together can be a source of extreme discomfort and limited mobility. Discogenic disease, also known as degenerative disc disease, refers to the natural deterioration of the spinal discs. Sciatica is the term for symptoms occurring from the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower body — including pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the buttocks, legs and feet.

If you or someone you care about are suffering from chronic sciatica-like symptoms caused by a discogenic condition, meaningful treatment is possible. As you work with your primary care physician on a care plan, learning as much as possible about the relationship between discogenic lower back pain and sciatica can help you make a treatment decision that is best for your individual needs.

How they relate

Discogenic disease in the lower back is primarily caused by the natural aging process, but other factors like genetics, injury and misuse play a role as well. The disc conditions that can result, including bulging or herniated discs, are not necessarily painful by themselves. Symptoms are caused by compression of the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root by displaced disc material. Sciatica would be caused if the nerve being compressed was the sciatic nerve, which branches off in the lower spine and is very commonly affected.

Treatment options

If discogenic disease has caused sciatica and its typical symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options you can explore under a doctor’s supervision. Many of them are nonsurgical in nature, including:

  • Exercise
  • Rest
  • Hot and cold compression treatment
  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

Surgery is usually considered when these treatment options have been exhausted, usually after a period of weeks or months. This is because traditional open back surgery is such a highly invasive prospect, requiring hospitalization followed by a long, often difficult rehabilitation period.

If you have been told surgery is your best option for discogenic lower back pain but are concerned about the risks of a traditional procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We offer an outpatient alternative with minimally invasive spine surgery that treats discogenic lower back pain and sciatica. Our highly skilled surgeons are able to access the spine using a less than 1-inch incision, which offers a dramatically shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.^

To learn more about becoming a potential candidate for minimally invasive surgery, contact our Care Team today for a no-cost MRI review.*