What Are the Best Treatment Options for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease?


Amid our hectic lives, where the daily grind often takes its toll, the spine bears the burden of countless individuals grappling with lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD). This common yet often misunderstood condition originates in the discs cushioning the vertebrae in the lower back. Over time, these discs lose hydration and elasticity, diminishing height and potentially herniating.

Globally, lumbar DDD stands as the single most common cause of disability among those above 45 years old and ranks as the second most frequent reason for primary care physician visits. Its prevalence underscores the need for effective treatment strategies to manage symptoms, improve function, and enhance the overall quality of life for those affected.

This blog will explore the best treatment options for lumbar degenerative disc disease, supported by statistics and expert insights.

What is a Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease?

Before delving into treatment options, it’s crucial to understand the nature of lumbar degenerative disc disease. 

The condition occurs when the discs in the spine lose hydration and elasticity over time, leading to reduced disc height and potential herniation. This can result in back pain, leg pain, numbness, and tingling.

Who Are At Risk Of Developing This Condition?

This condition can affect anyone, but certain factors can increase the risk of developing the condition:

  • It is more common in older adults, as the discs naturally degenerate over time
  • Jobs that involve repetitive or heavy lifting can increase the risk
  • Tobacco use can accelerate disc degeneration
  • A family history of DDD can predispose individuals to the condition
  • Excess weight can put added stress on the spine
  • Previous injuries to the spine

Dr Puneet explains, “Understanding the risk factors can help individuals take preventive measures and seek early treatment. For example, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking can reduce the risk of developing Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease. Regular exercise and proper lifting techniques can also help.” 

What Are The Various Treatment Options For Degenerative Disc Disease?

When you present the signs of degenerative disc disease, your doctor will start with noninvasive treatment options. These are treatment options that don’t involve surgery. This includes:

  • Pain Management: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants can help manage pain and inflammation associated with lumbar DDD.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercise programs focusing on strengthening the core muscles and improving flexibility can relieve and improve function. Studies have shown that physical therapy can significantly reduce pain and improve function in patients with lumbar DDD. One study reported a 50% reduction in pain scores and a 30% improvement in function after six weeks of physical therapy.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and avoiding activities that strain the back can help manage symptoms.

In severe symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary for long-term relief. Surgical treatment options include:

  • Lumbar Fusion: In cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, lumbar fusion surgery may be considered. This procedure involves fusing two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine.
  • Artificial Disc Replacement: Another surgical option is artificial disc replacement, where a damaged disc is replaced with an artificial one to restore function and reduce pain.

The success rates of surgical interventions for lumbar DDD vary. Lumbar fusion surgery effectively reduces pain and improves function in some patients, with success rates ranging from 60% to 90%.

Dr. Puneet Girdhar, a spine specialist, emphasizes the importance of individualized treatment plans for patients with lumbar DDD. “Each patient is unique, and their treatment plan should reflect that. While some may benefit from conservative measures, others may require surgical intervention. When determining the best course of action, it’s essential to consider the patient’s overall health, lifestyle, and goals.”

A patient shared, “I had been struggling with back pain from Lumbar DDD for years, and it was affecting my daily life. Dr. Puneet Girdhar’s treatment not only relieved my pain but also gave me hope for a better future. His dedication and expertise are truly commendable. I am grateful to have found such a skilled and caring doctor.”

How Much Does It Cost To Treat Lumbar DDD In India?

The cost of treating Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) in India can vary based on several factors. Generally, the cost range for various treatments is as follows:

Treatment Cost Range (INR) Cost Range (USD)
Medication 1,000 – 5,000 15 – 70
Physical Therapy 500 – 2,000 per session 7 – 30 per session
Epidural Steroid Injection 5,000 – 20,000 70 – 280
Discectomy 50,000 – 2,00,000 700 – 2,800
Spinal Fusion 1,00,000 – 5,00,000 1,400 – 7,000
Artificial Disc Replacement 2,00,000 – 6,00,000 2,800 – 8,400
Laminectomy 50,000 – 2,50,000 700 – 3,500
Foraminotomy 50,000 – 2,50,000 700 – 3,500

Note: The cost variations depend on the hospital’s infrastructure, the surgeon’s expertise, the type of surgery, and any additional services required. Hospitals in metropolitan cities may have higher costs than those in smaller cities. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate based on individual circumstances.


The best treatment options for lumbar degenerative disc disease depend on the patient’s symptoms, preferences, and overall health. While non-surgical treatments like physical therapy and pain management are often effective, some patients may require surgical intervention to achieve long-term relief. Patients must work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive treatment plan addressing their needs.

FAQs about Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

  1. Can Lumbar DDD be cured completely?

Lumbar DDD is a chronic condition, but symptoms can be managed effectively with the proper treatment.

  1. Is surgery the only option for treating Lumbar DDD?

No, surgery is usually considered after noninvasive treatments have been tried. Many patients find relief with medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.

  1. Are there any alternative treatments for Lumbar DDD?

Some patients find relief from alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, and yoga. However, the effectiveness of these treatments varies from person to person.

  1. Can Lumbar DDD lead to paralysis?

While rare, severe cases of Lumbar DDD can lead to nerve compression that may result in paralysis. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent such complications.

  1. Is it safe to exercise with Lumbar DDD?

Yes, low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga can help strengthen the muscles around the spine and reduce pain associated with Lumbar DDD.

Read More : Are There Any Age Restrictions for METRx Decompression?

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