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Lumbar Disc Herniation

Receive Proper Treatment for a Lumbar Disc Herniation

Low back pain can extremely difficult to deal with. The lower back is involved in various functions throughout the body, which is why pain in the lower back can cause a variety of complex problems. For instance, you use your lower back to sit, stand, bend over, lie down, sneeze, and more. A disc can herniate anywhere along the spinal column, but when it affects the lumbar region, severe pain typically ensues.

The discs within the spinal canal have a tough exterior with a soft center. This rubbery material is what cushions the spaces between the vertebrae. A herniation occurs when a disc ruptures or slips out of place, and some of the soft material inside pushes out through a tear in the hard exterior. While some people have no symptoms whatsoever, most do. 

Symptoms of a Lumbar Disc Herniation

As mentioned, a herniation can occur anywhere along the spinal canal, but it most often involves the lower back, known as the lumbar region. If you have a disc herniation along this part of the spine, you would expect to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain – While a herniated disc in the neck would impact the shoulders and arms, one in the lumbar region causes significant pain in the buttock, thigh, and calf.  Depending on the severity, the pain could also affect the feet.
  • Weakness – Any muscles associated with the involved nerves could lose stength. In more severe cases, the herniation would cause issues with balance and lifting objects.
  • Tingling or Numbness – It is also common for someone with a herniated lumbar disc to feel tingling, numbness or both in the buttock, thigh, and calf.

Causes of a Lumbar Disc Herniation

Usually, a herniated disc in the lower back is due to wear and tear associated with aging. Aging can begin to affect an individual’s spine during as early as their 20s.  By the age of 50, more significant degenerative changes can cause discs to dry out, resulting in the discs’ loss of flexibility and increased susceptibility to rupture or tear.  Improper lifting, twisting or trauma can also cause a disc to herniate.

Risk Factors for a Lumbar Disc Herniation

In addition to age and trauma, the following represent some of the other risk factors for herniating a disc in the lower back region:

  • Excess Weight – Excess weight, especially obesity, puts a tremendous amount of stress on the discs in the lower back.
  • Genetics – Some people have a predisposition for herniated discs.
  • Occupation – Jobs that require twisting, bending sideways, pulling or pushing, and repetitive lifting (particularly of heavy objects) create a higher risk of a lumbar disc herniation.

Seeking Medical Care

With most cases, a herniated disc can heal on its own within 2-3 months. However, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned and the pain either continually worsens or does not go away, please contact us at Key Clinics.

Dr. Joel D. Siegal, a board-certified neurosurgeon, will perform the necessary testing to determine if you have a lumbar disc herniation and, if so, the number of vertebrae involved and the intensity of the damage. Based on his findings, he will then propose the safest and most effective treatment to bring you much-needed relief.