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Rehabilitation

How do I rehab lumbar degen. disc disease?

06/27/2006

Question:

I was diagnosed several years ago with degenerative disk disease at L3-L5. When I am on my feet longer than 5 or 10 minutes my right thigh goes numb. My right leg is 3/8" longer than my left one. Recently, my left thigh goes numb, also. I used to walk daily for exercise, from half mile to three miles, but the numbness that occurs is very uncomfortable , so I haven`t been able to walk very far at one time. What to do?

Answer:

This sounds suspiciously like a condition called spinal stenosis. This is a condition where the spinal cord is compressed due to local arthritic changes. It needs investigation by a physician [physiatrist, neurologist or spinal specialist], imaging studies [such as MRI]. There may be options to treat, such as surgery. There are other possibilities, and it may get worse, so I would suggest seeing that physician now!

Submitted by Jonathan R Strayer, MD Chief, Dept PM&R Manager, Rehab Care Line, Cincinnati VA Medical Center

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Response by:

Stephen J Page, PhD Stephen J Page, PhD
Director of Research, Associate Professor
Drake Center
University of Cincinnati