The spine is made up of a series of bones connecting to each other commonly known as the vertebrae. The lumbar disc acts as a cushion between each bone of the vertebra, made up of strong connecting tissue. The lumbar disc has a hard exterior with a soft gel inside. As a person gets older typically this fluid is diminished, thus making it a not so effective cushion for the spine. Further to this, the center of the disc may also become herniated or, in other words, displaced. A lumbar herniated disc usually occurs to the two discs from the bottom of the lumbar spine.
A lumbar herniated disc can put pressure on the spinal nerves causing the condition known as sciatica. A lumbar herniated disc like other types of herniated disc is characterized by numbness, weakness, tingling and/or pain in the leg. Currently approximately 1 to 2 percent of individuals between the ages of thirty and fifty suffer from Sciatica. This is a frightening statistic, and one that demands attention. Back pain may also be caused by a lumbar herniated disc but if this is not accompanied by pain in the leg, then there may a different cause.
The good news for sufferers of a lumbar herniated disc, is that surgery is not required in eighty to ninety percent of cases. Normally, the physician will recommend non-surgical options to treat the lumbar herniated disc such as a short rest period, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, physical therapy, exercises, and injection therapy.
Non-surgical treatments aim to reduce disc and nerve irritation and improve the patients physical condition in order to protect the patients spine and enhance general function. An organized treatment and care program combining a number of the aforementioned treatments is effective in treating the majority of lumbar herniated disc patients.
After observing the recommended period of non-surgical treatment, if the pain still persists with the lumbar herniated disc, and hinders the patients from normal activities even after the completion of non-operative treatments, then the physician may recommend surgery as a last resort.
It is important to note that the patient may not regain complete leg strength with surgery but it can serve to prevent further weakness in the legs as well as relieve pain. In fact, surgical treatment is typically recommended in order to relieve leg pain but it is not as successful as relief for the back pain itself.
After surgery, you should rely on your doctors advice in terms of which activities are suitable. Obviously this will depend on the severity of the lumbar herniated disc The first step after surgery is to take basic steps to see if there are any lingering pain issues. In most cases patients are able to go home on the same day or within 24 hours of the lumbar herniated disc surgery. The following activities should be avoided by patients following the surgery: bending forward, lifting heavy objects, sitting for a prolonged time and driving. It is advisable to follow a rehabilitation program recommended by your physician or hospital. You doctor or physician will be able to assist in determining which exercises and rehabilitation methods will be most effective in reducing the chance of the lumbar herniated disc returning.