Lumbar disc protrusion is a common spinal disc condition that causes lower back pain and other symptoms throughout a patient’s lower body. The lumbar spine (lower back) is particularly susceptible to disc protrusion because it supports most of the body’s weight and is extremely flexible. This leads to a higher chance of injury and faster degeneration rate compared to the neck and mid-back. As a result, lumbar disc protrusion is far more common than protrusions of any of the other segment of the spine.
In a healthy spine, the vertebrae in the lumbar segment are separated by soft, pliable intervertebral discs. When functioning normally, these discs act as cushions for the neck and back and help give the body its flexibility. With aging, however, these discs can lose their elasticity and strength. As they become compressed, instead of bouncing back like a healthy disc, weakened discs can bulge out, or protrude. If the disc protrusion irritates, impinges or pinches one of the five lumbar nerves (L1 to L5), pain or other symptoms may result. The specific symptoms depend on the location, severity and pathology of the protrusion.
Common symptoms of L1-L5 disc protrusion include:
- Chronic, low back pain
- Pain, numbness and tingling in the legs, feet and toes
- Back stiffness or soreness
- Muscle weakness in the thighs and calves
- Incontinence (in rare emergency cases)
In most instances, physicians manage disc protrusion symptoms conservatively, or non-surgically. Treatments can include pain medication, rest, exercise and stretching, the application of heat or ice and others. In some cases, patients do not respond to conservative treatment and surgery is recommended. To avoid unnecessary destruction of normal tissue and minimize risk, it is reasonable to determine the least invasive surgical treatment possible.
Accomplishing an effective treatment while maintaining the least disruptive course of action is the fundamental idea upon which Laser Spine Institute was conceived and developed. With substantial effort and financial expenditure, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have perfected innovative, highly successful, minimally invasive procedures for the treatment of many spinal conditions. When conservative, non-invasive treatment has failed, more invasive treatments are required. In the past, “more invasive” has meant traditional open spine surgery, but that’s not the case any longer. It now may mean minimally invasive spine surgery.
Consider the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. We offer effective procedures with shorter recovery periods and lower risk than traditional open spine surgery of all types. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan and to receive more information about our facility.