The lumbar region of your spine, commonly known as your lower back, has five rubbery pads between the vertebrae known as discs. They play three crucial functions: they cushion your vertebrae; support your upper body; and allow your back to do a range of movements, such as bending, flexing, and twisting.
As you age, your discs gradually lose their natural hydration and undergo degenerative changes—making them especially prone to rupturing, cracking, or tearing even with just a mild strain. When your disc ruptures, cracks, or tears, the gelatinous substance inside it can leak into the spinal canal and press on the nearby nerve/s. This condition is referred to as lumbar disc herniation (also called ruptured, slipped, bulging, or herniated lumbar disc), and it can, in many cases, cause symptoms that can interfere with your quality of life. Left untreated, a herniated lumbar disc can even result in permanent nerve damage.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, take heed and don’t wait to seek treatment from an orthopedic doctor. This way, you can lower your risk for potentially serious complications.
Studies show that up to 90 percent of sciatica cases are caused by a herniated lumbar disc.
Sciatica occurs when one or more spinal nerve roots—in the fourth vertebrae in your lumbar region (L4) and third vertebrae in your sacral region (S3)—that form the sciatic nerve get compressed.
Sciatica often causes unilateral pain that radiates from your lower back, to your buttock, and down the back of your leg.
Foot drop, also known as drop foot, refers to the inability to lift the front part of the foot. If you have this condition, the front of your foot can drag along the ground when you take a step. Foot drop occurs when a herniated disc in the fourth or fifth vertebrae (L4 or L5) causes nerve compression. Without proper medical treatment, foot drop can lead to lifelong disability.
Loss of Feeling or Muscle Control
When a herniated lumbar disc puts excessive pressure on the nearby nerve, the muscles innervated by it can also weaken, causing you to lose sensation in your extremities and find it difficult to keep yourself balanced.
Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control
Either symptom signifies a condition known as cauda equina syndrome, in which the group of nerves and nerve roots stemming from the most distant end of your spinal cord (cauda equina) gets severely compressed or damaged. Although rare, cauda equina warrants prompt medical intervention, as it can result in permanent paralysis, among other serious complications.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Treatment in Rochester Hills, Michigan
For first-rate lumbar herniated disc treatment in Rochester Hills, Michigan, visit us here at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, offers innovative and proven-effective solutions to help patients successfully manage—or even live free from— the pain and movement limitations caused by their spine problems.
To schedule a visit with Dr. Ahlgren, call us at (248) 215-8080, or fill out our appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!