Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease is not really a disease...but rather a term used to describe abnormal wear and tear of a spinal disc in the lumbar spine. At lease that's the way I see it.
Some experts use the term degenerative disc disease (DDD) to describe the normal aging process of the spinal discs. Sure...disc disease is common, but no need to re-define normal.
I consider normal to be the condition the spine would be in under optimal circumstances. When the spine is in it's normal alignment, the forces of gravity and motion do not create abnormal stresses on the joints...this only happens when the spine is out of alignment. Sure, most people are out of alignment...but it's not normal.
Anyway...the lumbar discs that are most susceptible to degenerative disc disease are L4-5 and L5-S1...the last two inter-vertebral discs in the spine.
Lumbar disc degeneration can lead to disk herniation and pinched nerves. When this occurs, the most common symptom is Sciatica, which means pain in the leg...and it can be excruciating.
There are many forms of treatment for lumbar disc degeneration. Everything from doing nothing...to lumbar fusion...it just depends what stage of degeneration you are at, and who your spine doctor is.
Dr. Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD, has written a very good article on the excellent www.spine-health.com website. Check it out...it's entitled Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease. Also...click on the interactive video on Degenerative Disc Disease on the right hand side of the page...it's very informative.
So...what about treatment for lumbar disc disease?
Dr. Ullrich covers treatment pretty good in his article, with the exception of one thing...nonsurgical spinal decompression. Probably because there is not enough research for him to consider yet. However, the preliminary research (pilot studies) currently underway at John Hopkins, Duke University, and the Mayo Clinic...are very promising. You can order a copy of the Special Report on Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression right here.