Lumbar disc herniation
Lumbar disc herniation occurs in the lower back, when the gelatinous center of a spinal disc is pushed through a tear in the tougher exterior. The main cause of this condition is usually natural degeneration of the spine due to aging, where years of wear from common activities like walking and bending place strain on disc material. Herniated discs are also sometimes caused by injury from lifting heavy objects or from participation in sports.
Symptoms of lumbar disc herniation
It is possible to have a herniated disc in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine and not experience symptoms. However, if displaced disc material comes into contact with any nerves in the spine, painful symptoms can be experienced throughout the body.
A common condition experienced by patients with a herniated lumbar disc is sciatica. This is when a disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which runs into the lower body. People suffering from sciatica often describe a burning or tingling pain that shoots down the leg and thigh — resulting in difficulty walking, sitting or standing.
Treating a herniated lumbar disc
Many patients find relief by following a course of treatment prescribed by their doctor. Since the severity of lumbar disc herniation varies from patient to patient, finding effective treatment can often require a degree of trial and error. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following conservative therapies:
- Light exercise
- Alternating use of hot and cold compresses
- Bed rest
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
- Epidural steroid injections
If months of these treatments have not provided you lasting relief from your lower back pain, surgery may become an option. The minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute is performed on an outpatient basis and has helped more than 60,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain since 2005.
For patients with a severe herniated disc who have been told they are a candidate for a traditional open back fusion, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are a safer and effective alternative.^
Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about these state-of-the-art procedures and to receive a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to help determine if you are a potential candidate.