Lumbar ruptured disc
A lumbar ruptured disc is often caused by aging and normal wear on the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, with traumatic injury and repetitive motion also being causes. This region of the spine is prone to developing conditions like ruptured discs because it must be able to support the upper body while being flexible enough for movement. The spinal discs in particular absorb a lot of this pressure, which can add up over the years and lead to degeneration.
While a ruptured disc doesn’t always cause symptoms, this condition can become extremely debilitating if it results in nerve compression by displaced disc material. If your life is being affected by a lumbar ruptured disc, treatment that can return you to everyday activity is possible. A great place to start is educating yourself about this condition so you can work with your doctor to make an informed treatment decision.
Causes and symptoms of a lumbar ruptured disc
A lumbar ruptured disc — as well as a cervical ruptured disc and thoracic ruptured disc — is more common in people over the age of 30 and becomes more likely with time. As the years go by, the gelatinous material inside the spinal discs begins to lose its fluid content, making it less springy and more easily injured. The tougher outer layer also starts to dry out with age, making it brittle and prone to tearing. A ruptured disc occurs when pressure from surrounding vertebrae causes the inner disc material to push through a tear in the outer layer. Nerves in the spine — the spinal cord and nerve roots — are already tightly packed into the spine and even a small amount of narrowing caused by a damaged disc can result in symptoms.
Symptoms of a lumbar ruptured disc may include:
- Pain, burning, tingling or numbness radiating from the buttocks to the hips, legs and feet
- Weakness in lower back or leg muscles
- Low back pain
- Severe pain when standing, sitting, walking, twisting or lifting
Treating a lumbar ruptured disc
If you’re experiencing symptoms that you suspect could be from a spine condition such as a ruptured disc, consult your doctor. He or she can determine the cause of your pain and recommend treatments to reduce your discomfort. In fact, many patients are able to manage the condition on a long-term basis through doctor-recommended treatments like physical therapy, rest, over-the-counter medication. Surgery is usually not considered unless weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought enough relief for a return to normal activity.
If you are considering surgery, there is another option available for pain relief — minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. With a quicker recuperation time^ than traditional open back surgery, Laser Spine Institute’s state-of-the-art procedures can help you find lasting relief from back pain.
Contact us today for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* that can help you determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.