According to a recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, physical therapy, combined with anti-inflammatory medication, is the most effective treatment for low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease.
As many injured workers know, one can have degenerative changes in their lumbar spine without even knowing. Once a work injury takes place, by lifting or twisting, or other common movement, the weakened lumbar spine becomes symptomatic. This results from the instability of the damaged discs.
According to the article, physical therapy helps by strengthening the surrounding muscles in the abdominal area and the lumbar spine, and by physically manipulating the spine. To obtain the best results, the patient has to remain active and use appropriate body mechanics.
As a doctor at an orthopedic clinic was quoted in the article as saying, “Surgery should be the last option, but too often patients think of surgery as a cure all and are eager to embark on it.”