I've had a couple of episodes of low back pain lasting several weeks to a month. My doctor did an MRI that showed degenerative disc disease at L345. My job involves some lifting. Am I more likely to hurt myself big-time because of this disc problem?
The risk of serious low back pain (LBP) doesn't go up with the diagnosis of lumbar spine disc degeneration. In other words, you are no more likely to injure yourself than someone with a perfectly normal spine.

A recent long-term study over five years done at Stanford University (California) verified these findings. Despite the common sense idea that people with degenerative disc disease are more likely to suffer serious harm from minor trauma, it just isn't true.

In fact, the study confirmed what many other studies have been reporting all along. And that is -- behavioral and psychologic factors are far better predictors of LBP than anything else. This refers to factors such as psychologic distress, smoking, and ongoing worker's compensation issues.

Back injuries can be reduced and even prevented with proper lifting techniques. Most back injuries involving lifting loads are linked with lifting in an awkward position or lifting loads too heavy for the person's size and strength.

A positive attitude and proper lifting will go a long way in preventing serious low back illness -- even in someone with known degenerative disc disease.