Lumbar disc herniation is a common condition that affects the lower back, also known as the lumbar spine. It occurs when the outer layer of a spinal disc tears, causing the soft inner core to leak out and press against nearby nerves, resulting in pain and discomfort. In this blog post, we will discuss what lumbar disc herniation is, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Symptoms: The most common symptom of lumbar disc herniation is low back pain that radiates down one or both legs. Other symptoms include:
- Numbness or tingling in the buttocks, thighs, legs or feet
- Weakness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (in severe cases)
Causes: Common causes of lumbar disc herniation include genetics, age, and activity level. Other causes may include:
- Excessive strain on the lower back due to heavy lifting or sudden movements
- Repetitive motions that put stress on the lower back, such as bending and twisting
- Poor posture or sitting for prolonged periods of time
- Obesity, which puts extra stress on the spine
Diagnosis: If you are experiencing symptoms of lumbar disc herniation, your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess your range of motion, strength, and reflexes. They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis and determine the location and severity of the herniation.
Treatment: The treatment options for lumbar disc herniation depend on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may be treated with pain medication, steroids, physical therapy, acupuncture or chiropractic care. More severe cases may require epidural steroid injections, or surgery.
Surgery may be recommended if the herniation is causing significant pain, weakness, or loss of bladder or bowel control. The most common surgical procedure for lumbar disc herniation is a discectomy, which involves removing the herniated portion of the disc to relieve pressure on the nerves. The surgery is typically done with a less than one-inch incision, takes less than an hour and patients get discharged home the same day.
Prevention: There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing lumbar disc herniation, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly to strengthen the muscles in your back and abdomen
- Practicing good posture when sitting and standing
- Avoiding heavy lifting or sudden movements that put strain on the lower back
- Taking frequent breaks from sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time
In conclusion, lumbar disc herniation is a common condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options. With proper treatment and prevention strategies, you can manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of future herniations.