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Spine and Back Health

Lower back, leg pain and muscle weakness



I have severe degenerative disc disease. I have been having right leg muscle weakness and pain down the leg. What are some better treatment options besides PT and meds and surgery? Thanks


Hello, thank you for your question. I obviously can't recommend that you have a particular treatment or another. Only a qualified medical person who has taken a full history and physical exam and looked at your x-rays can recommend treatment for you. If your question in a more general sense involves what other treatments are out there for DDD, meds and PT are the backbone of treatment, while surgery is mainly a last resort.

Other options include TENS units, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, steroid injections, traction, heat/ice, lumbar braces / corsets, and for those with severe pain that hasn't responded to any other interventions some people require implantable devices, such as a spinal cord stimulator or "pain pump". This is not an exhaustive list, but covers much of the usual ground. You asked about "better" treatments - no single treatment is "better" than another. Some work well for certain people, others don't. Surgery is the best option for some people, and the worst possible option for others. Again, only your physicans can tell you which option(s) might work for you. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University