5 Common Symptoms of Lumbar Disc Herniations
To understand why we see these 5 common symptoms of lumbar disc herniations, we must first understand what a disc herniation is. Let’s take a more in depth look at the structures of the spine and discover what a “hernia” really is.
The spine, or vertebral column, is made up of 33 bones known as vertebra. In between these vertebra are disk-shaped cushions of connective tissue known as the intervertebral discs, which helps to maintain alignment and permits movement of the spine. It is important to maintain good intervertebral disc health and joint space between each vertebra to avoid the development of degenerative joint disease. The term “hernia” refers to a part of the body that bulges out through an abnormal opening. Herniations most commonly occur in the spine, abdomen and inguinal regions. Lumbar disc herniations are more common than cervical or thoracic disc herniations, but how and why they occur is very similar. Let’s dive into the mechanism of injury and why we see these 5 common symptoms of lumbar disc herniation.
Mechanism of Injury
A disc herniation occurs when there is tearing of the outer layer of the disc (known as the annular fibrosus) which allows for the center material of the disc (nucleus pulposus) to herniation through this tear. This escaping of the jelly-like nucleus pulposus will cause less severe bulging or more sever herniation of the disc into the spinal canal, which can cause impingement of the nerves exiting the spinal canal that supply the extremities. Lumbar disc herniations are more common than cervical or thoracic due to the amount of stress placed upon the lumbar spine during everyday activities.
5 common symptoms of lumbar disc herniations
Often with a lumbar disc herniation you will experience any of the following;
- intermittent or continuous back pain; pain with and without movement
- pain with coughing, sneezing or bearing down
- radiating pain from the back or buttock down into the leg or foot
- numbness and tingling in the leg or foot, accompanied with weakness in the legs
- reduced reflexes in knee or ankle region
If you or anyone you know is struggling with any of these 5 common symptoms of lumbar disc herniations, here is a quick video you can do at home to help you determine if you may be suffering from a lumbar disc herniation: