A slipped disc in the lower back can be caused by poor body mechanics or an injury to the spine, but most often it occurs as a result of years of normal wear and tear to the spinal column. When researching this condition, it is first important to understand that the disc does not actually fall or slide out of place in the spinal column. Rather, the intervertebral disc becomes herniated or ruptured, causing disc material to leak and potentially place pressure on neighboring nerve roots and the spinal cord. The amount of displaced material usually determines the severity of the symptoms a person will experience.
A slipped disc in the lower back typically can cause dull or sharp pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness below the waist. Slipped disc symptoms can be isolated in the lower back, or can radiate through the buttocks and down the legs.
Since the symptoms of a slipped disc are similar to those of other back conditions, it is important to obtain a proper diagnosis from a doctor before attempting any treatment. Your physician will first conduct a physical examination and will record your medical history, then may issue tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or slipped disc MRI. When a proper diagnosis is made, your physician will likely prescribe a treatment plan that will begin conservatively with bed rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, exercise, and activity modification.
Most patients respond well to conservative slipped disc treatments, but those who still experience chronic pain and other limiting symptoms may benefit from prescription medications or steroid injections. When symptoms fail to improve even after all conventional therapies have been exhausted, slipped disc surgery may be an option.
Patients considering back surgery for treatment of a slipped, herniated, or ruptured disc should know that there are less-invasive options to traditional open back surgery available at Laser Spine Institute (LSI). Our laser-assisted, endoscopic procedures have relieved slipped disc symptoms for thousands of patients, without the scarring and long recovery time associated with open back surgery. For a free MRI or CT scan review, or to learn more about our services, contact LSI today.