Lumbar Bulging Disc (Lower Back)
A lumbar bulging disc occurs in the lower back, or lumbar region of the spine. The lumbar spine has either five or six bones, or vertebrae, which are described as L1 to L5 (and L6). These vertebrae span from the waist to the tops of the hips.
Due to the location of a lumbar bulging disc, it can exert excess pressure on exiting spinal nerve roots that serve the lower half of the body. This can result in symptoms that are felt in the lower back, pelvic region, buttocks, legs and feet. Sometimes, the symptoms are related to the impingement of the sciatic nerve, which is a large, long nerve that originates in the lower back and extends through the buttocks and down the back of each leg. Symptoms of sciatic nerve compression are collectively referred to as sciatica.
Why lumbar bulging discs are so common
Lumbar bulging disc cases account for the vast majority of all bulging disc cases. The lumbar region of the spine is prone to damage and injury for several reasons. For instance:
- The lumbar region supports the majority of the body’s weight.
- The lower spine can be easily strained and injured during heavy lifting, particularly when inappropriate techniques are utilized.
- It is common for this area of the body to receive direct trauma resulting from falls, car accidents and participation in sporting activities.
- Lumbar discs endure significant wear and tear over time, making them susceptible to weakening and breakdown.
In addition to age-related degeneration, other risk factors for developing a lumbar bulging disc include an occupation that requires heavy lifting, a history of back injuries, a lack of exercise, smoking and carrying excess body weight.
Most patients who are diagnosed with a symptomatic lumbar bulging disc find that the condition resolves on its own or with conservative treatment administered over the course of a few weeks or months. A physician will usually prescribe a limited period of rest, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to help ease any discomfort. In rare cases, the symptoms might persist or worsen, leading a physician to recommend open back surgery, such as a discectomy.
Minimally invasive surgical treatments for a lumbar bulging disc
Laser Spine Institute offers several minimally invasive, outpatient procedures — including discectomy — for the treatment of lumbar bulging disc symptoms and other forms of neck and back pain. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages over open back surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we successfully perform more minimally invasive spine surgeries each month than any other spine surgery facility in the nation, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.
Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive approach and to speak with our physicians. We can also review recent MRIs.