A herniated disc occurs when a fragment of the spinal disc
pushed out into the spinal canal through a tear
. It impinges on spinal
nerves, producing godawful pain
down the accompanying leg and foot.
The compression and inflammation causes the pain known as
sciatica, and in severe cases the nerve's compression produces
weakness in the leg or foot.
A herniated disc is usually preceded by low back pain. When the nucleus
herniates and compresses the spinal nerve, the pain changes (increases)
from "dull" low back pain to "sharp" or "piercing" sciatica.
A herniated disc is usually treated conservatively at first, without
surgery. The low back area is given rest
for several weeks in order to
allow the nerve inflammation
to subside. This can be helped along by
medication such as Ibuprofen
, and/or an
injection may be performed. Physical therapy may be
beneficial, including use of traction
, ultrasound, and electrical muscle stimulation
, to relax spasming muscles. If conservative
treatment doesn't work, surgery
If the herniation is large, disc excision is necessary. A
microlaminotomy requires several days in the hospital
post-surgery for wound healing. The sciatic pain is gone immediately
after the surgery, though the area where the operation is performed
will ache for a few weeks.
Mine is L4-L5. It hurts.