Spinal disks act as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. They support the upper body allowing movement in all direction. When the disc herniates, the inner material of the disc leaks resulting in pain. The pain can occur in the neck, upper back, or lower back area depending on the location of the herniated disc.
Lumbar herniated disc results in pain in the lower back area. The condition generally affects people between the age of 35 and 50. In this article, you will learn about how a lumbar herniated disc develops as well as the symptoms and treatments of the condition.
The nucleus pulposus that is a gel-like interior of each spine disc is protected by a tough outer ring called the annulus. Over time, the disc leaks fluid due to wear and tear. This makes the discs spongy and pliable due to which they become harder and flatter.
The disc degeneration process starts early in life. But the effects show up only in early adulthood. The degeneration of the disc occurs when pressure is placed on the spine. In the lumber herniated disc, the disc protrudes in the lower back and push against the nearby nerve root causing pain.
A lumber herniated disc generally involve pain in the buttocks that extend down to the leg. The pain occurs when the nerve root in the lower back touches the sciatic nerve. This triggers a pain along the sciatic nerve due to which it is also known as sciatica.
In the lumber herniated disc, the pain radiates down the back of the leg and into the foot. The exact symptoms depend on the location of the herniation.
If the herniating occurs at lumbar segments L4-L5, it results in leg pain along with a weakness in raising the ankle and bit toe. In addition, the individual feels a tingling sensation on the top portion of the foot.
Another location where herniation could occur is at the lumbar segment L5-S1. Symptoms in this case involve leg pain and a weakness when standing on toes. The individual also feels a tingling sensation in the leg that radiates to the sole.
Lumbar herniated disc is not progressive. It usually does not cause long term pain. In majority of the cases, the issue resolves on its own.
This happens because researchers believe that the body considers herniation as a foreign material. It attacks the herniation and reducing the inflammatory proteins close to the nerve root.
Another reason for the lumbar herniated disc healing on its own is that the disc fluid is absorbed by the body due to which the disc shrinks. The smaller disc does not extend into the nerve roots that prevents an irritation.
Care must be taken in diagnosis of the lumbar herniated disc. Make sure that an expert spine specialist makes the diagnosis. Mostly the pain will subside on its own. However, if the condition does not get better the doctor may recommend nonsurgical or surgical treatment options.