Causes and treatment options for discogenic pain

Discogenic pain occurs in a deteriorated disc in the spine. This pain could localize in the area of the damaged disc or it could spread into the extremities, causing radiating pain, numbness, weakness and tingling. An example of radiating pain would be a damaged disc in the lower back that causes pain to travel down the buttock and leg.

If you are experiencing discogenic pain and discomfort, you should consult your doctor. While sometimes this pain can be caused by a sudden injury, most cases of discogenic pain progress slowly and can be effectively treated with conservative methods of treatment, such as pain medication, physical therapy, weight management, low-impact exercises and chiropractic care.

However, if left untreated, severe discogenic pain may require spine surgery, such as the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, in order to treat the condition. To learn about the causes of this condition as well as the treatments available to help you find lasting relief, read the following article.

Causes of discogenic pain

The most common cause of discogenic pain is the gradual deterioration of a disc in the spine due to the natural aging process. In some cases, this is referred to as degenerative disc disease. The discs in the spine serve to cushion and properly space the vertebrae of the spine. The vertebrae are the small bones that make up the structure of the spine.

The discs sit in between each set of vertebrae to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other during movement or bending of the spine. Over time, as the body gains weight and repeats the same movements, the vertebrae begin to compress the discs, causing the discs to slowly deteriorate or to flatten and expand outward.

When a disc flattens under the pressure of the vertebrae and expands into the spinal canal, it is called a bulging disc. If a disc bulges, it could impact a nerve root in the spinal canal. Likewise, if the disc deteriorates, it could cause the no-longer-supported vertebrae to shift out of alignment and impact a nerve root. Both instances would likely result in local and radiating pain.

In some cases, discogenic pain can develop due to an injury, such as whiplash or a fall. In these instances, the pain is much more sudden and not easily mistakable. Discogenic pain caused by a deteriorated or bulging disc is often slow to progress, while discogenic pain caused by an injury is often immediate and strong.

Treatment options for discogenic pain

Many cases of discogenic pain caused by a degenerative condition can be effectively treated through forms of conservative therapy. Your doctor can help you find the treatment option that works best for your condition and your lifestyle. Sometimes, these therapies can be combined to reduce your pain more efficiently. You should always consult your doctor before adding or changing your treatments.

If conservative therapies do not relieve your discogenic pain after several weeks or months, your doctor may recommend a surgical treatment option for you. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our minimally invasive spine surgery has a patient satisfaction score of 98 and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open back surgery.^

Our minimally invasive procedures also do not require hospitalization and are performed at one of our state-of-the-art outpatient surgery centers across the country. For more information about discogenic pain and the treatment options available to you, please contact Laser Spine Institute. We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.

For patients with moderate disc damage, our board-certified+ surgeons would likely perform a minimally invasive decompression surgery. During this procedure, a small portion of the damaged disc is removed to decompress the impacted nerve root in the spinal canal. Once the nerve root is released, you should experience a great reduction in your symptoms.

For patients with more severe disc damage, our board-certified+ surgeons may recommend a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. During our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the entire damaged disc would be removed to release pressure on the nerve root. Then, a disc implant would be inserted into the empty disc space to properly support and stabilize the vertebrae of the spine.

To find out if you are a potential candidate for our discogenic pain procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a free MRI review.* We have performed more than 100,000 patient procedures since 2005 and our dedicated team is confident that we can help you on the road to recovery.