Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions for which patients seek treatment with our board-certified specialist, Dr. Rovner. When lower back pain coincides with pain in one or both legs or buttocks, this may be an indicator that you have a lumbar disc herniation. You may have heard lumbar disc herniation referred to as a “herniated disc,” “ruptured disc,” or “slipped disc.”
The Lumbar Spine
The five vertebrae that span the length of your ribcage and pelvis make up the lumbar spine. From top to bottom, these vertebrae are labeled L1 through L5, separated by discs. The discs are comprised of fibrous tissue called “annulus” with a soft “nucleus” at the center of each one. These discs play an important role in the way your spine functions, acting as both shock absorption and distribution of pressure.
If an annulus is torn, the nucleus can become separated from the disc. This problem reduces the ability of your discs to separate vertebrae, leading to undue compression and pressure on the spinal nerves rooted to the spinal cord between each vertebra. If you have a lumbar disc herniation, the pain you feel is related to pinched nerves which radiate down your leg.
Causes of Lumbar Disc Herniation
Generally, herniated discs are often caused by simple wear and tear. Discs can also tear after the trauma of heavy lifting or a sudden intense injury such as car accidents or work injuries.
Diagnosing a Lumbar Disc Herniation
During your consult at Progressive Spine & Orthopaedics, Dr. Rovner will conduct a thorough physical exam, including a comprehensive review of your medical history and test results. He will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms and will order any necessary tests afterward. Dr. Rovner will provide you with up to date information about your diagnosis, as well as the risks and benefits of each treatment option. He will work with you to decide on the best treatment option.
Treating a Lumbar Disc Herniation
Dr. Rovner will only recommend lumbar surgery as a last resort. If you have a lumbar disc herniation, he may recommend steroid injections, physical therapy, medication, modified activity, or a combination of the above. If you do not respond to these treatments or have an urgent need for surgery such as lumbar microdiscectomy, Dr. Rovner will be ready to help.