Your spine is one of your most vital body parts, supporting you and allowing you to keep upright and moving. That’s why it’s essential to take care of your spine. Spinal injuries, like lumbar disc herniation, can significantly impact the quality of your life, causing pain and limiting your mobility.
Fortunately, you can manage symptoms successfully with the assistance of a spine specialist.
What Is A Lumbar Herniated Disc?
In between the vertebrae in the spine are intervertebral discs. These flat, spongy discs cushion the vertebrae and serve as shock absorbers when you move.
Your lumbar spine carries most of your body weight. A herniated disc can occur when an intervertebral disc’s outer layer, or the annulus, ruptures. The tear allows the softer center or nucleus to leak out and put pressure on nearby spinal nerves.
As you get older, your discs become more likely to degenerate and tear. Older individuals are more susceptible to experiencing lumbar disc herniation. However, ruptures can also occur from improper or repetitive movements and traumatic impacts on the back.
Low back pain is one of the most common lumbar herniated disc symptoms. You may also experience any of the following:
- Sciatica, or pain spreading from the lower back to down the legs and buttocks
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Slower reflexes
- Changes in bladder or bowel movement
If you experience any of these symptoms, it might be time to see a spine specialist. Fortunately, they can diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
Lumbar Disc Herniation Treatments
Resting can lessen the pressure on your spine and bring you much-needed relief. You can also use an ice pack to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Avoid heavy lifting and any movements that cause you pain. However, staying mobile and avoiding long periods of bed rest is also vital. Too much rest can cause stiffness and weaken the back muscles that support your spine.
Back Support and Medication
Your lumbar disc herniation doctor can recommend medication and support equipment along with rest and other treatments. A back brace can reduce the strain on your lumbar spine and support your mobility.
Over-the-counter pain medications and muscle relaxers can help relieve pain and reduce muscle spasms. In severe cases, your doctor may suggest spinal steroid injections to alleviate severe symptoms.
Patient Education, Physical Therapy, and Exercises
Practicing proper mobility techniques can help you avoid placing unnecessary strain on your spine and back muscles. Physical therapists and specialists can teach you how to perform everyday tasks.
You can also protect your spine by strengthening your body. Exercising your back muscles can help support your movement despite a herniated disc. Alongside practicing proper form, you can prevent the condition or reduce the risk of aggravating it.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to increase your function and mobility. Your treatment plan can help you learn about proper body movement and practice the best exercises for your condition. Therapy can also include stretches, massages, and more.
Most cases of lumbar disc herniation improve in six to eight weeks. However, surgery can effectively treat it if symptoms persist despite non-surgical treatments. This procedure is called a discectomy. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision to remove parts of the herniated disc putting pressure on nearby nerves.
Microdiscectomy is another option. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is similar to a traditional discectomy. Your provider will use specialized tools and equipment to carry out the procedure. They will make a smaller incision to remove part of the ruptured disc, requiring a quicker and less painful recovery.
Talk with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your lumbar herniated disc. You can return to your daily routine with no pain and symptoms with proper management and time.
Lumbar Disc Herniation Doctor In Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, & Royal Hills, Michigan
When an intervertebral disc ruptures, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back and legs. A lumbar herniated disc can significantly impact your movement and quality of life. Fortunately, most individuals with this condition can manage symptoms with lifestyle changes. Nonsurgical treatments such as rest, medications, and physical therapy can help alleviate symptoms. If symptoms persist, your surgeon may be able to perform minimally invasive surgery.
Receive quality care from an expert lumbar disc herniation doctor at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, offers a wide range of treatments for various spine conditions. Recover from a herniated disc and experience a better quality of life.
Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery is in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Royal Hills, Michigan. Schedule a visit with Dr. Ahlgren by calling us at (248) 215-8080. You can also fill out our appointment request form to arrange a consultation with the best spine surgeon near you. We look forward to helping you lead a normal, active lifestyle!