A lumbar disc herniation, also known as a slipped disc, is a condition in which the soft inner material of a disc in the lower back (lumbar spine) bulges or ruptures through a tear in the outer ring. This can irritate or compress nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet.

What causes a lumbar disc herniation?

Lumbar disc herniations can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Aging: As we age, our discs become less hydrated and more susceptible to injury.
  • Repetitive lifting or twisting: Jobs or activities that require repetitive lifting or twisting of the back can put increased stress on the discs and lead to herniation.
  • Injury: A sudden injury to the back, such as a car accident or fall, can also cause a disc herniation.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts extra stress on the spine, including the discs.

What are the symptoms of a lumbar disc herniation?

The symptoms of a lumbar disc herniation can vary depending on the severity of the herniation and the nerves that are affected. Common symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling in the buttocks, legs, and feet
  • Muscle weakness in the legs
  • Difficulty walking or standing

How is a lumbar disc herniation diagnosed?

A doctor will diagnose a lumbar disc herniation based on a physical exam and a review of your medical history. They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to get a better look at the spine and discs.

How is a lumbar disc herniation treated?

Most lumbar disc herniations heal on their own with time and rest. Treatment typically focuses on relieving pain and discomfort. This may include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Prescription pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the spine and improve flexibility
  • Injections of corticosteroids or other medications into the epidural space (the area around the spinal cord)

Surgery may be recommended for people with severe or persistent symptoms, or for people who have neurological weakness.

What can I do to prevent a lumbar disc herniation?

There are many things you can do to help prevent a lumbar disc herniation, including:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use proper lifting techniques
  • Avoid repetitive twisting and bending motions
  • Strengthen your core muscles
  • Stretch your back muscles regularly

If you have any concerns about your back health, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Call Us Text Us
Skip to content