Most often due to the natural occurrence of degenerative disc disease, discogenic pain refers to lower back pain that originates from a damaged vertebral disc.
Because a vertebral disc no longer has any inflammatory proteins once it is fully degenerated, discogenic pain rarely occurs after the age of 60.
Discogenic pain is typically associated with activities that increase the pressure within the vertebral disc, such as sitting, bending, coughing, or sneezing. Symptoms most frequently include lower back pain and spasm. Though, the pain may occasionally radiate to the buttocks, groin, or thighs.
It is important to promptly diagnose discogenic pain to avoid unnecessary procedures and delay of treatment. Epidural injections may be tried; if not effective, then your doctor may recommend a diagnostic procedure that consists of placing a needle inside the disc and directly assessing the status of the disc under fluoroscopy.
An estimated 6 million people in the U.S. suffer from discogenic back pain. If you are among those who suffer, the good news is that the pain almost always improves with the proper treatment.
There are many different types of treatment to help relieve discogenic pain. Oftentimes, treatments are combined for better symptom control or relief. Conservative treatment of discogenic pain typically consists of one or more of these methods:
- Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants, and opioids
- Physical therapy
- Epidural injections of local anesthetics combined with long-acting corticosteroids
- Braces that help support the back and limit painful movement
- Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and yoga
- Lifestyle modification