Lumbar Herniated Disc - Topic Overview
This topic is for a people who have a herniated disc in the lower
back. If you are looking for information on a herniated disc in the neck, see
the topic Cervical Disc
The bones (vertebrae) that form the
spine in your back are
cushioned by small, spongy discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as
shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. But when a disc is
damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a
herniated disc . It may
also be called a slipped or ruptured disc.
You can have a herniated disc
in any part of your spine. But most herniated discs affect the lower back
(lumbar spine). Some happen in the neck (cervical spine) and, more rarely, in
the upper back (thoracic spine).
A herniated disc may be caused by:
- Wear and tear
of the disc. As you age, your discs dry out and aren't as flexible.
- Injury to the spine. This may cause tiny tears or cracks in the hard outer
layer of the disc. When this happens, the thick gel inside the disc can be
forced out through the tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc. This
causes the disc to bulge or break open.
herniated disc presses on nerve
roots , it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of
the body where the nerve travels. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause
pain and numbness in the buttock and down the leg. This is called
"sy-AT-ih-kuh"). Sciatica is the most common symptom of a herniated disc in the
If a herniated disc isn't pressing on a
nerve, you may have a backache or no pain at all.
If you have weakness
or numbness in both legs along with loss of bladder or bowel control, seek
medical care right away. This could be a sign of a rare but serious problem
called cauda equina