Sedentary Work Exerting up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met.

Light Work Exerting up to 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force occasionally and/or up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of force frequently, and/or negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. Physical demand requirements are in excess of those for Sedentary Work. Light Work usually requires walking or standing to a significant degree. However, if the use of the arm and/or leg controls requires exertion of forces greater than that for Sedentary Work and the worker sits most the time, the job is rated Light Work.

Medium Work Exerting up to 50 (22.7 kg) pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 25 pounds (11.3 kg) of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of forces constantly to move objects.

Heavy Work Exerting up to 100 pounds (45.4 kg) of force occasionally, and/or up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of force frequently, and/or in excess of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force constantly to move objects.

Very Heavy Work Exerting in excess of 100 pounds (45.4 kg) of force occasionally, and/or in excess of 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of force frequently, and/or in excess of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force constantly to move objects.

Job Classification

In most duration tables, five job classifications are displayed. These job classifications are based on the amount of physical effort required to perform the work. The classifications correspond to the Strength Factor classifications described in the United States Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The following definitions are quoted directly from that publication.

Sedentary Work Exerting up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met.

Light Work Exerting up to 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force occasionally and/or up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of force frequently, and/or negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. Physical demand requirements are in excess of those for Sedentary Work. Light Work usually requires walking or standing to a significant degree. However, if the use of the arm and/or leg controls requires exertion of forces greater than that for Sedentary Work and the worker sits most the time, the job is rated Light Work.

Medium Work Exerting up to 50 (22.7 kg) pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 25 pounds (11.3 kg) of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of forces constantly to move objects.

Heavy Work Exerting up to 100 pounds (45.4 kg) of force occasionally, and/or up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of force frequently, and/or in excess of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force constantly to move objects.

Very Heavy Work Exerting in excess of 100 pounds (45.4 kg) of force occasionally, and/or in excess of 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of force frequently, and/or in excess of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of force constantly to move objects.

Degeneration, Lumbar Intervertebral Disc


Related Terms

  • DDD
  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
  • Low Back Pain
  • Lumbar Disc Disease

Differential Diagnosis

Specialists

  • Chiropractor
  • Neurologist
  • Neurosurgeon
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Orthopedic (Orthopaedic) Surgeon
  • Physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist)
  • Physical Therapist
  • Preventive Medicine Specialist
  • Rheumatologist

Comorbid Conditions

Factors Influencing Duration

Individual's age, occupation, aerobic fitness level, and severity of symptoms may all influence the length of disability. The presence of concomitant chronic illness and / or psychosocial factors may affect length of disability.

Medical Codes

ICD-9-CM:
722.52 - Lumbar or Lumbosacral Disc Degeneration
722.73 - Lumbar Disc Disorder with Myelopathy

Overview

© Reed Group
Degeneration of a lumbar disc describes the gradual, age related loss of mechanical properties of the semi-rigid structures (intervertebral discs) that separate and cushion the bony column (vertebrae) in the lumbar spine. Consisting of 5 vertebrae, L1 through L5, the lumbar spine is in the low back between the thoracic spine and the sacrum. The discs are designated either by naming based on both the vertebra above and the vertebra below, or less commonly by the name of just the vertebra above. Thus, the lowest disc is named the L5-S1 disc, or less frequently just as the L5 disc. Lumbar disc degeneration usually occurs first between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae or between the fifth lumbar and first sacral vertebrae (Hoff 956).

Intervertebral disc degeneration, especially in the lumbar spine, begins most commonly in people in their second decade of life (Kjaer). Whether the degenerating disc is a cause of back pain is controversial. Doctors who attribute back pain to degenerating discs frequently use the term "degenerative disc disease" (DDD). However, scientific evidence that the aging changes ("degeneration") seen on imaging are responsible for (correlate with) back pain is not present, and thus the term "non-specific low back pain" is the more prevalent term used instead of degenerative disc disease. Intermittent episodes of back pain may occur months or years before more persistent low back pain or leg pain. Pain may be exacerbated by flexion of the lumbar spine during heavy exertion, repetitive bending, twisting, or heavy lifting. However, it has been demonstrated that minor trauma does not cause either serious chronic low back pain and disability, or new MRI findings (Carragee, "Minor Trauma"; Carragee, "First-time Episodes"). The rate at which individuals develop aging ("degenerative") change on imaging is largely genetically determined, and exposures to activities such as occupation and recreation have very little effect on the rate of spinal aging (Battié).

As in the cervical and thoracic spines, lumbar disc degeneration occurs naturally with aging. Discs have a soft, gelatin-like material in the center (nucleus pulposus) that remains soft because of its high water content (about 80% in the young spine). However, the water content decreases with age, which causes the disc to change appearance on MRI (decreased signal or T2 weighted images, or become "black") and to lose some of its elasticity, restricting its function as a shock absorber. The disc space narrows as degeneration occurs, placing stress on the other joints of the vertebrae (facet joints), and this leads to degeneration of the facet joints (osteoarthritis change). Disc displacement (herniation) may occur secondary to disc degeneration when the nucleus pulposus protrudes abnormally beyond the fibrous ring into the spinal canal, often pressing on spinal nerves and causing changes in sensory, motor, and reflex function (radiculopathy).

Usually, the precise cause of back pain cannot be identified, but because pain and degeneration coexist, the pain is attributed to the degenerative changes by some physicians.

Several things may contribute to the pain often attributed to degenerative disc disease. The discs may lose water and become less flexible. Small tears in the tough ring of cartilage that makes up the outer disk (annulus fibrosis) may allow the jelly-like material of the nucleus pulposus to protrude from the disc space (herniate) and compress the nerve root. Bone spurs (osteophytes) grow slowly over time, and the spinal canal may narrow and compress the nerves that run through it. Any of these possibilities may cause pain of varying duration and intensity. Symptoms attributed to DDD by some physicians will generally vary according to the location and degree of vertebral compression and the activity level of the individual. However, symptoms do not always match up with imaging changes. The presence of diseases that affect the spine or adjacent organs may refer pain to the lower back and legs and may complicate diagnosis of why a person has back pain.

Incidence and Prevalence: Over the course of a person's life there is a 60% to 90% chance that an individual will suffer an episode of low back pain; the likelihood that it might occur in any given year is 5%. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, low back pain accounts for 13 million visits to the doctor each year. With 2.4 million people excused from work during any period, low back pain is the single greatest reason for lost productivity in the US (Patel).

Source: Medical Disability Advisor






Feedback
Send us comments, suggestions, corrections, or anything you would like us to hear. If you are not logged in, you must include your email address, in order for us to respond. We cannot, unfortunately, respond to every comment. If you are seeking medical advice, please contact your physician. Thank you!
Send this comment to:
Sales Customer Support Content Development
 
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the author, editors, and publisher are not engaged in rendering medical, legal, accounting or other professional service. If medical, legal, or other expert assistance is required, the service of a competent professional should be sought. We are unable to respond to requests for advice. Any Sales inquiries should include an email address or other means of communication.