Comprehensive Care

At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced spine surgeons perform thousands of surgeries each year, including those that correct spinal issues associated with lumbar disc disease. We pride ourselves on offering the least invasive surgical options to allow you to recover quickly from surgery and return to your regular life faster. Our surgeons take the time to explain your unique condition and walk you through your treatment from beginning to end. Our specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and only recommend surgery when necessary.

What is lumbar disc disease?

It is also known as degenerative disc disease (DDD) or degenerative bone disease, is a term that describes the natural changes that occur in your spinal discs as you age. These soft, compressible spinal discs are found between each vertebra (spinal bone) and allow your back to bend and twist. Over time, the spinal discs lose fluid and elasticity, which can lead to cracking, herniation, and lower back pain.

What are the causes?

This disease is caused by age-related changes that occur in your spinal discs, including:

  • Loss of fluid in the spinal discs
  • Small cracks or rips in the outer layer of the spinal discs

What are the symptoms?

It is important to visit an orthopedic specialist for an evaluation if you suspect you are suffering from lumbar disc disease. While symptoms will vary from person to person, the most common indicators include:

  • Back pain
  • Limited ability to perform normal activities or sports
  • Pain when bending over
  • Pain in the buttock or legs
  • Pain when reaching up
  • Pain when twisting

How is the disease diagnosed?

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute is home to experts in a wide range of spinal conditions who have years of experience diagnosing and treating lumbar degenerative disc disease. Your initial exam will likely include the following:

  • Medical history evaluation – Your physician will discuss your medical history with you and any relevant prior medical problems.
  • Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate your lower back and may ask you questions about where you are feeling pain or discomfort.
  • Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will also likely conduct imaging studies to rule out other conditions and accurately diagnose your back condition.

What are the best treatment options?

Discomfort can be treated using conservative options, including:

  • Avoiding activities that cause pain
  • Pain or anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise therapy


If degenerative disc disease causes other conditions, such as a herniated disc or lumbar stenosis, you may need other treatments, such as:


If you believe you may be suffering from lumbar disc disease, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating spinal conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive spine care in the Washington, D.C. area. 

Our Specialists

Neck & Spine

Joseph L. Ferguson, MD

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
Seyed Babak Kalantar, MD

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – McLean
Fred Fei Mo, MD
Fred Fei Mo, MD
Spine Surgery

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – McLean
Alan George Schreiber, MD

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
Oliver O. Tannous, MD

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Mitchellville
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
James Edward Tozzi, MD

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Sam W. Wiesel, MD
Sam W. Wiesel, MD
Spine Surgery

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital


3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
106 Irving Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
Phone: 202-877-6000
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
13950 Brandywine Road, 2nd Floor Brandywine, MD, 20613
Phone: 301-856-1682
5454 Wisconsin Avenue, 11th Floor Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
Phone: 301-215-9423
6355 Walker Lane, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA, 22310
Phone: 703-971-3701
9455 Lorton Market Street, Suite 200 Lorton, VA, 22079
Phone: 703-971-3701
6858 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 200 Mc Lean, VA, 22101
Phone: 202-444-8766
11325 Pembrooke Square, Suite 115 Waldorf, MD, 20603
Phone: 301-856-1682