Degenerative lumbar spine disease
Degenerative lumbar spine disease (DLSD) includes spondylotic (arthritic) and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with or without neuronal compression or spinal instability. DLSD is common, especially in the aging Western population. Imaging evidence of DLSD is seen in 100 percent of the population over the age of 40 years, being severe in 60 percent of those over the age of 70. The correlation between the degree of degenerative changes on the scans and patients’ symptoms however, is poor, with many patients experiencing few symptoms despite radiological evidence of DLSD. In symptomatic patients, a significant poportion of symptoms are due to bony, discal or ligamentous compression of neural elements at the spinal canal or nerve root exit foramina. Cauda equina syndrome due to compression of the cauda equina by a herniated central lumbar disc is a specific ondition requiring emergency neurosurgical attention.