What Is a Herniated Disc in the Lower Back?


Quick Answer

A herniated disc in the lower back, also known as a lumbar herniated disc, occurs when the inner core of the disc leaks out through the disc’s outer portion, according to Spine-health.com. The herniation then puts pressure on the spinal nerve root, often causing pain and discomfort.

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When a disc herniation occurs in the lower back, it can cause pain along the nerve root, through the buttock and down the leg, according to Spine-health.com. This pain is often called sciatica or radiculopathy. Other symptoms of a lumbar herniated disc include numbness, weakness and tingling in the legs. In some more serious cases of lumbar disc herniation, individuals can suffer from a loss of bladder or bowel control. This is known as cauda equina syndrome.

Wear and tear and spinal injuries are the two most common causes of lumbar disc herniation, according to WebMD.com. Many times, the symptoms of a herniated disc improve in a few weeks or months, and most herniated discs heal on their own without invasive treatments. Most medical professionals are likely to recommend rest, ice and heat, physical therapies, or medical treatments to reduce pain and swelling as treatment. Only about 10 percent of those suffering from a herniated disc get surgery to treat this condition.

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