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Q. I have DDD and herniated disk. What should I do?

Answered by
Dr. Atul Prakash
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 15, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am 35-year-old, and I do not smoke, have a correct BMI, and exercise regularly. I had lower back pain and took an MRI. Results showed that I have DDD and herniated disc. There is no pain in the legs. There is only lower back pain, especially when I get up from my sitting. I can visibly see, my orientation is tilted. I work as a software engineer. I have had lower back pain episodes two years back and three years before that. For which I did chirotherapy for few months and did not have any pain for two to three years after that.The doctor said that I have DDD with herniated disc L3 to L4 and L5 to S1, and also the rate of degeneration is about 10 years earlier. I have attached the results. I have been advised with physiotherapy and pain killers as the treatment plan for now. I understand that DDD is irreversible. Will this handicap me in the future? Am I restricted or limited to certain activities? Should I go with surgery? How bad is my condition?

#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

With the MRI report available (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity), no leg pain is expected. Still, you clearly have back pain and a spasmodic list, possibly from irritated nerve endings in the annulus of the discs, and you have three that are bulging (luckily only centrally). Degeneration of the discs is a long-term and irreversible condition.

  • You can help yourself with strengthening exercises of the lower back and mobility exercises of the lumbar spine and hamstring stretches.
  • Being mindful of your posture as you have à sitting job.
  • You will continue to have this episodic back pain, but you can reduce the intensity and frequency by adopting lifestyle changes and physiotherapy.
  • There is no need for surgery at present.

Regards.

Thank you doctor for the suggestion,

I have few more doubts to ask. Kindly help me. How frequently should I expect episodes of pain? If it revisits, how long will it take to get better? Should I stop going to the gym after I get better? Will this affect my sex life?

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • It is difficult to be precise regarding the frequency. I can safely say that you can reduce the number to less than one episode a year if you follow the guidelines and do regular Physiotherapy.
  • 90-93 % of all acute backaches in adults settle down in three months
  • You may do the exercises at home and going to the gym is not essential during or after a back pain episode.
  • Not really, perhaps only during the acute phase of back pain, you may need to abstain from sex.

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