Back pain is no laughing matter and for many people it is the number one reason for missed work and school and one of the leading causes of medical insurance claims and doctor visits. As a disc ages with time or begins to breaks down after strenuous use, the inner core material in the disc can leak out; this results in what is now as disc herniation or a herniated disc. The weak spot of the disc is right by one of the main nerve branching from that are of the spine, so a herniation of the spinal disc in this area puts direct pressure on that major nerve, thus causing a great deal of discomfort and mobility issues. The nerve travels from the spine all the way down the leg, and pinched nerve in the lower area of the spine will generally have pain that is radiated down the lower back through the buttocks, down the leg and into the foot. This type of pain is commonly is referred to by the general public as sciatica or by the medical professionals as a radiculopathy.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Symptoms
Most people report two or more of these symptoms when they are diagnosed:
Leg pain that seems to radiate down the leg- pain may or may not originate in the lower back and many times patients say the leg pain is worse than the back pain.
Numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of mobility in the lower back areas or either one of the legs- rarely are both legs affected by herniated discs.
Lower back pain and the sensation of something catching, slipping, or pulling with normal movements such as standing, sitting, jogging, walking, or bending.
Loss of bladder or bowel control is very rare but it can be an indication of a serious medical condition known as cauda equina syndrome that must be treated right away.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Treatments
In many instances of herniated discs, if the pain is going to go away and the patient's condition is going to improve, it will do so after 6-8 weeks with a regimen of rest and care. There are several non-surgical treatments that are commonly used for herniated disc care before surgery becomes an option:
Physical therapy to help build muscles and improve spine position and strength
Osteopathic/chiropractic manipulation to help realign out of place discs and vertebrae
Heat and ice therapy is helpful for reducing inflammation and lessening pressure on nerves
Oral steroids and Anti-inflammatory pills may be prescribed
Injection of cortisone can be delivered to the spine as a last effort before surgery
If symptoms endure for more than eight-twelve weeks with no improvement, and if the pain is severe and enough to interrupt a person's livelihood, then surgery needs to be considered as a viable option, but spinal decompression should first be regularly administered so as to provide the least invasive treatment option.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Surgery
The option of last resort would be surgery. A microdiscectomy surgery is done in order to relieve the pressure and help ease the pain associated with the pinched nerve. Using microsurgical techniques the procedure is minimally invasive and most people are able to go home after one day in the hospital. Success rates are acceptable and usually within a few months patients are back to their normal routines unfortunately, approximately 10% of patients can have reoccurring herniation due to other underlying problems or weaknesses in the spin. For reoccurring issues, a lumbar fusion surgery may be the only option so all movement is stopped and further herniation cannot occur. We want to keep you off the operating table, and we want to help your body recover in a much more natural way. Chiropractic is much less intrusive compared to surgery, and 3-4 sessions a week might help you recover naturally. Call my office, I want to help!