Lumbar disc herniation

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Dr Turaj Yazdi / article / Lumbar disc herniation

Lumbar disc herniation

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We have all experienced back pain once in our lives, this pain is very annoying and sometimes it lasts for a long time. In this article, we want to talk about one of the most common causes of low back pain: lumbar disc herniation. The intervertebral disc may also occur normally because the gelatinous material loses its consistency over time or wears out due to various factors. It gradually increases with the age of osteoarthritis. Lack of physical activity is another factor that can put pressure on the disc and nerve roots.

Not all back pain is due to a lumbar disc. Many pains are due to muscle weakness. Because many people in our society are overweight, they are more likely to have muscle problems in the lower back, especially in women. Back pain is more common. Most women become overweight and have an enlarged abdomen after giving birth. As we know, the abdomen has a supporting role on the spine and when the abdominal muscles are weak, the pressure on the vertebrae increases.

Often back pain does not even require a simple photo. Although medical services in our country are very easy to access and cheap (in the United States, an uninsured MRI costs $ 3,000) and patients bring a few photos and tests with them when they go to the office, these things are not really necessary and only with simple stretching exercises and flexibility, they can easily relieve pain.

The symptom of lumbar disc herniation is sciatica. Contrary to popular belief, sciatica is not a disease, but a symptom and is pain that starts in the lower back and continues as a band on the back of one or both legs. Improper lifestyle and aging over 40 years are the most important cause of fluid loss in the lumbar disc. The disc, which loses its elasticity, protrudes spontaneously, causing pain in some cases due to improper movement or heavy activity.

Lumbar disc

What are the symptoms of a lumbar disc herniation?

Lumbar disc herniation may show no symptom but in some other cases, a lumbar disc herniation can be painful. Disc herniation between the vertebrae is more common in the lower back, although it can also occur between the cervical vertebrae, and the symptoms depend on the severity of the damage to the vertebrae and the pressure on the nerve.

The most common complaint of patients with lumbar disc herniation is pain in the buttocks, thighs, and legs, and the doctor determines which vertebra is damaged according to the patient’s symptoms and pain. Pressure in this area disrupts the movement of the big toe upwards and the pain spreads from the back to the calf.

The most common symptoms of a lumbar disc herniation are:

Leg pain: If your lumbar disc herniation is in the lower back, the patient usually feels severe pain in the buttocks, thighs, and legs. If a disc herniation occurs in the cervical vertebrae, the pain is usually felt in the shoulders and arms. This pain may suddenly become more severe when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or move your spine. Pain occurs after standing or sitting for a long time or after walking, even at short distances.

Numbness and tingling: An intervertebral disc herniation often causes numbness and tingling in a part of the body whose nerves are under pressure due to a disc herniation. Symptoms may vary depending on which area is affected. Symptoms may occur in the lower back, buttocks, front or back of the thighs, legs, soles, or feet and toes.

Weakness: Muscles that are controlled by nerves may be weakened. This may cause the patient to be out of balance or to be unable to lift or hold objects. Foot sagging and nerve symptoms of a disc herniation may manifest as an inability to lift the legs while walking or standing on the heel or toe or cause the foot to protrude from the sandal while walking.

What are the risk factors for lumbar disc herniation?

Factors that increase the risk of intervertebral disc herniation include:

  • Age: The most common risk factor for hernia risk is the age of patients, which occurs between 30 and 50 years of age.
  • Gender: Men are twice as likely as women to have a disc herniation.
  • Overweight: Overweight leads to increased pressure on the discs. Being overweight increases the risk of developing a lumbar disc herniation 12 times more than normal. This risk increases especially in those who have a history of rupture of a disc. This is due to the constant bearing of a heavyweight on the disc.
  • Occupation: People with hard physical jobs are more prone to intervertebral disc herniation. Frequent lifting, pulling, bending and straightening, or twisting can also increase this risk.
  • Smoking: Smoking is also a cause of lumbar disc herniation. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the disc, accelerating the process of disc destruction. This damage makes the disc more prone to herniation.
  • Family history: People who have a family history of lumbar disc herniation are more likely to develop the disease.

However, it should be noted that lumbar disc herniation can occur at any age, occupation, weight, and in any condition.


How is a lumbar disc herniation diagnosed?

During medical examinations, your doctor will carefully examine your lower back. He or she may ask you to lie on your back and move your legs in different positions so that your doctor can diagnose the cause of the pain. Your doctor may also examine your nerves through the following methods:

  • Reflex
  • Muscle strength
  • Ability to walk
  • Ability to feel touch, feel the impact of a sharp object, and feel the vibration

In most cases, a medical examination and a medical history are sufficient to diagnose a lumbar disc herniation. But if your doctor is skeptical about diagnosing the condition, he or she may order other tests. These tests can include the following:

  • X-ray
  • CT-Scan
  • MRI

What is the treatment for lumbar disc herniation?

Stronger painkillers: Your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers if your pain does not go away with over-the-counter painkillers. Drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and constipation are some of the possible side effects of these drugs. Muscle relaxants: If you experience muscle spasms, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. Drowsiness and dizziness are possible side effects of these drugs.

Physiotherapists can teach you movements and postures that can help you minimize the pain of a disc herniation between your vertebrae. Physiotherapists may recommend the following:

  • Use heat or cold
  • Use of ultrasound property
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Short-term use of support orthoses (belts) in the waist

Measures that can help prevent a disc herniation include:

  • Gentle exercise: Walking or swimming can strengthen the muscles and cardiovascular system without putting pressure on the joints and discs.
  • Mild traction: Maintaining loose ligaments improves overall spinal flexibility.
  • Healthy diet: Nutrient-rich foods keep you healthy, while weight loss reduces stress on the spine.
  • Quitting smoking: Toxins in cigarettes reduce blood circulation and absorb nutrients.


The best way for disc surgery and it’s fundamentals
⭐Turaj Yazdi M. D.⭐

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