Lumbar disc protrusion — symptoms and treatments

Lumbar disc protrusion is a relatively common degenerative spine condition and often develops as a result of the natural aging process of the spine.

Because the lumbar (lower) spine is responsible for supporting so much of the body’s weight, natural changes like loss of water and protein content can cause the disc to protrude out of its normal place in the spinal column. Discs in the spine are made of a jellylike fluid surrounded by a tough outer layer. When these elements of aging cause the vertebrae around the discs to compress, the discs may lose shape over time, resulting in a damaged disc flattening and expanding outward.

Symptoms of lumbar disc protrusion

Many patients have slightly protruding discs in the lumbar spine without ever being aware of their condition. This is because a protruding disc on its own does not necessarily cause symptoms. However, if the disc protrudes into the spinal canal and puts pressure on an adjacent nerve, debilitating symptoms can develop.

Common symptoms of lumbar 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
  • Sciatica
  • Incontinence (in rare emergency cases)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your physician to diagnose the cause of your pain. Because disc protrusion is a type of degenerative disc disease that happens gradually, the sooner you can diagnose your symptoms, the sooner you can start finding pain relief.

Treatment for lumbar degenerative disc disease

While many patients may find relief from this condition through conservative methods of treatment, such as physical therapy, yoga and pain medication, other patients may require surgical treatment to decompress the nerve that is the source of pain and symptoms.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive decompression surgery for lumbar disc disease and other spine conditions. Specifically, we offer minimally invasive discectomy to remove a small portion of the damaged disc and take pressure off the nerve. This is accomplished through a less than 1-inch incision that spares muscles. We also provide minimally invasive stabilization surgery that is an alternative to traditional fusion procedures. For more information about the advantages of our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We will be happy to provide a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.