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?



Welcome to

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.


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?



Welcome back to

  • 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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