Lumbar Disc Herniation (LDH)


What is a Lumbar disc herniation?

Lumbar disc herniation is a common condition that affects both the spines of young and middle-aged populations. This is characterized by the tearing of the annulus fibrosus sheath and the protrusion on the gel-like nucleus pulposus when there are large forces pushing onto the spine. The tear of the disc may cause great pain, but there may be even more pain when the nucleus pulposus pushes onto the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower body.


What are some factors for lumbar disc herniation?

While some factors for disc herniation include genetics and aging, a large factor that affects both old and young populations is improper weight loading onto the spine. This can be a sudden large force pushed down that forces the nucleus propulsus outward, or a long-term weakening of the annulus fibrosis through constant heavy lifting. Another factor can be improper posture when lifting objects, causing more forces towards the spine than it can handle.


What are some signs of lumbar disc herniation?

The signs of disc herniation can differ whether or not the herniation is pushing onto the spine. It is possible that you may have a herniated disc without any noticeable symptoms, and would only realize with a MRI image of the spine. On the other hand, if the herniation pushes onto a nerve, this may cause pain, weakness, numbness and/or tingling. Severe lumbar herniations may cause the lightning-like pain to travel down the leg, and make it painful to use the affected leg.


What are some treatments for disc herniation?

Disc herniation symptoms can be alleviated through the use of ultrasound, traction, and laser therapy found in physiotherapy clinics. Other treatment options include education on how to stand properly, how to carry objects properly, and methods of avoiding aggravation of the disc. In addition, anti-inflammatory drugs may help alleviate the pain that travels down the leg. Finally, if the pain is too unbearable, it may be recommended to check with a doctor whether surgery is required as a treatment.

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