Herniated Disc | Herniated Lumbar Disc (Lower Back)

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Herniated Lumbar Disc (Lower Back)

herniated disc

A herniated lumbar (or lower back) disc is easily one of the most frequent spine injuries, as this region of the spine has to put up with a lot of load and strain during our every day life.

Depending on its severity, the exact location as well as other factors, this condition can end up being very painful. Fortunately, in many cases a herniated lower back disc can be fixed, if the right treatment is followed.

This article gives a general overview over the symptoms and treatment options for a disc herniation in the lumbar spine. For more detailed information go to our lumbar herniation category, or just choose the topic of your interest from this list:



Herniated Lower Back Disc Symptoms

Besides the obvious pain in the lower back, patients who suffer from a bulging disc in the lower back very often experience the so-called sciatic pain. This is due to the fact that the slipped disc in many cases touches spinal nerve roots which are located next to the vertebrae.

The most typical signs of sciatica are radiating pain, numbness and tingling in buttocks, legs, and feet. The patient may also experience weakness in some of these parts of the body.

Depending on the exact level and type of the herniation, the symptoms can slightly vary, as each of our body parts is served by a different spinal nerve or nerve root. As an example: if the patient feels weakness in their big toe, this might well be a sign of an l5-s1 disc problem.

However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Each person is wired differently, so the symptoms of a herniated lower back disc may also depend in big part on the anatomy of the patient. Go see a doctor if you have a reason to believe you may suffer from a bulging or herniating disc.



How About Surgery?

When every possible treatment method has failed to bring any lasting results, a surgery for herniated back discs will be the next step to consider. There are several surgical procedures that can help relieve the pressure from the injured spinal nerve.

The video on the left describes one of the typical procedures for a lumbar herniation, the laminectomy.

During a lumbar laminectomy, an incision is made along the area of the affected disc and backbones to remove parts of the lamina and the affected disc.

This way, the pinched nerve and the spinal cord can be set free of all the pressure that created the sciatic pain.

The procedure during which only the disc or a part of it is removed (not involving the lamniae) is called discectomy. Read more about experiences with this type of back surgery in our separate post FAQ Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery.




Lumbar Spine Disc Treatment

Physical therapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for a lumbar prolapsed disc. It is a useful way to decompress and relax the spine, reduce inflammation and strengthen muscles with help of specific exercises for herniated discs, cold and heat, massaging and other effective therapy methods.

Other options include alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture, chiropractic, or even yoga. There are uncountable ways to achieve some at least temporary pain relief.

However, many treatments will only take care of the symptoms and not the real problem, if not used in an effective way. Make sure you get all the information you can on your condition by eucating yourself and by talking to different specialists. Experiment with different treatment approaches and find out what helps you most.


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