Lumbar Disc Disease

a doctor examining a scan of a patient with lumbar disc disease

What is lumbar disc disease?

Lumbar disc disease is one of the most common causes of back and leg pain. It is caused by degenerative changes in the discs and bones of the lumbar (or lower) spine. Diseased in this category include herniated discs, spondolytic changes and spondylolisthesis. All of these conditions cause a loss of structural support of the lumbar spine and/or a compression of nerve roots within or exiting from the lumbar spinal canal.

Care of lumbar disc disease is usually non-operative at first, focusing on physical therapy, medications, injections and time with surgery withheld until deemed necessary by the patient. Once a decision to do a surgical procedure is made, there are a wide variety of options available. I suggest that any patient in need of a surgical procedure consult with a surgical specialist who has training and experience in spinal procedures.

Lumbar disc disease and medical negligence

Medical negligence claims commonly involve a failure to diagnose progressive conditions affecting the lumbar spine or complications that occur during surgical procedures on the lumbar spine. Included are: failure to diagnose a developing cauda equina syndrome, iatrogenic injury to the great vessels during disc surgery, failure to investigate the onset of new nerve root compression after pedicle screw insertion.

The lumbar spine is an organ system and treating lumbar spine disease is unfortunately compartmentalized by the specialty of the treating physician. That means that the treatment is limited by the knowledge of the treating physician or other health care provider, as they are called.

Be careful to get second opinions so that the procedures you have done are explained to you and are approved by a fresh look. Of all the unnecessary surgical procedures that I see performed, procedures in this category are at the top of the list.