Degenerative disease of the lumbar vertebrae begins at the level of the intervertebral discs. They are degenerative phenomena of the disc that make their appearance from 30 to 40 years of age with the dehydration of the disc gelatinous nucleus. It is an injury related to various circumstances and personal factors such as: the inheritance, the length of the spine, the state of the musculature, overweight, overloads, bad positions or undue efforts.
When the disc degenerates and dehydrates, cracks or fragmentation can occur inside. Also its height decreases -what we call impingement- and a dysfunction with an abnormal vertebral mobility is established. As the disc nucleus degenerates, more tension is transferred to the ring that surrounds the disc and this can cause a rupture of the disc.. If there is a rupture of the ring, the disc nucleus can be displaced, this is what we call lumbar disc herniation .
Disc degeneration without hernia
On the other hand, if there is no hernia, disc degeneration does not have to be responsible for painful pictures. Over the years virtually all individuals have disc disorders, but that does not necessarily constitute a disease. However, a degenerated disc can lead to an increase in the amplitude of its movements, and this does cause an overload of the posterior intervertebral joints, which in turn can cause vertebral instability. Likewise, these joints can hypertrophy when abnormal bone is formed around them, thus causing a narrowing of the channels through which the nerves or stenoses pass .
Sciatica is a picture of low back pain that radiates to the lower extremities following the course of the sciatic nerves. Pain begins in the lower back and usually travels the buttock, the back side of the thigh, and the posterior and external face of the leg and foot.. Sciatica may be due to a spinal stenosis or a herniated disc that comes in contact with the nerves. In any case, the compressed sciatic nerves determine a pain in the lower extremities, in the territory innervated by them.