Degeneration of the disc tissue makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rapture).
Each disc is formed of a central gel-like inside (nucleus pulposus), surrounded by an outer ring (annulus fibrosus).
When this softer component ruptures (herniates) through the outer ring it press directly on nerve roots and irritate adjacent nervous tissue.
Degenerative changes lead to spinal instability (degenerative spondylolisthesis).
The report says that you have these changes in lumbar vertebra number 4 L4 and 5 L5 but with no significant nerve compression.
The changes between the lumbar vertebrae 5 L5 and the first sacral vertebrae 1 S1causes compression on the nerve root L5 which clinically results in sciatica symptoms (back pain radiating to the legs).
These conditions can be treated in the majority of cases with medical and conservative treatment (non surgical).
Non surgical treatment include, physical therapy, certain exercises, weight reduction, epidural steroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and decreased daily activities. The pain usually improves faster than the numbness and the weakness if present.
Surgery for cervical disc herniation is only considered if symptoms are not controlled after at least one month (6 weeks) of medical and conservative treatment, or in very complicated cases with serious symptoms.
This answer does not substitute for direct medical consultation.
Dr. Safaa Mahmoud.
MB BCh, MSc Internal Medicine. MD Medical Oncology.
PhD Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Science.