Dr-M-Shahadat-Hossain

Lower back pain for is a common health concern experienced by many individuals, but fortunately, it is usually treatable. However, in some cases, the pain may be caused by a herniated disc, which is a condition that occurs when the soft, jelly-like material inside the spinal discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine starts to rupture. This can be due to injury, overuse, or the natural aging process.

The symptoms of a herniated disc can be quite painful, and can include back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back or legs. However, it’s important to receive a proper medical diagnosis to ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs.

To accurately diagnose a herniated disc, healthcare professionals like doctors, physiotherapists typically employ a combination of approaches. These include conducting a physical examination, reviewing the patient’s medical history, and performing imaging tests like X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans. Based on the severity of the herniated disc, treatment options may include rest, physical therapy, medication, or in some cases, surgery.

It’s important to note that while a herniated disc can be painful and uncomfortable, most people are able to recover from the condition with proper treatment and lifestyle modifications. By working closely with your healthcare provider, you can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that can help you alleviate your symptoms and get back to enjoying your daily activities.

Lets know the symptoms of PLID disc herniation

Let’s know the symptoms of PLID/disc herniation

The Importance of Recognizing Lower Back Pain

Pain in the lower back due to a herniated disc can range from mild to severe, and can be constant or intermittent. The pain is often localized to the lower back but may also radiate to the hips, buttocks, legs, or feet. The severity of the pain can be influenced by the size and location of the herniation, as well as the degree of nerve compression.

Individuals with a herniated disc in the lower back may also experience muscle spasms or stiffness in the affected area. The pain may worsen with certain activities, such as bending, lifting, or sitting for long periods of time. In severe cases, the pain can be debilitating and affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities or work.

Read more: The best treatment of PLID/ Disc herniation / Disc prolapse in Bangladesh

Recognizing Pain That Travels from the Lower Back to the Leg

When a herniated disc occurs in the lower back, it can cause radiating pain that travels down the legs. This type of pain is known as sciatica, and it’s caused by the compression of nerves in the lower back. The severity and duration of the pain can vary depending on the location and size of the herniation.

Radiating pain caused by a herniated disc in the lower back can feel like a sharp or burning sensation that extends from the lower back down to the legs, feet, or toes. The pain may worsen when sitting, standing, walking, or performing activities that involve bending or twisting the spine.

Sensations that aren’t normal in the leg

Sensations that aren’t normal in the leg

It’s important to be aware of any numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations that may occur in your leg or foot, as they may be indicative of a herniated disc. This occurs when the disc presses against the nerves in the spine, leading to a range of symptoms that can worsen if left untreated.

These symptoms may occur quickly after the initial injury and may be accompanied by radiating pain that travels from the lower back down to the leg or foot. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected leg or foot may also occur, which can interfere with your ability to perform daily activities or move around comfortably.

Read more: Can Physiotherapy Help Patients with Herniated Discs/PLID in the Lower Back? An Evidence-Based Approach

Bladder or Bowel Control Issues: When to Seek Medical Attention for a Possible Herniated Disc

If you experience bladder or bowel control issues, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention, as this may be a sign of a severe complication caused by a herniated disc. Although it’s uncommon, a herniated disc can put pressure on the nerves responsible for controlling your bladder or bowel, leading to loss of control or incontinence.

If you experience these symptoms, seek emergency care as soon as possible. A healthcare provider can perform a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the affected nerves and restore normal bladder or bowel function.

It’s essential to address bladder or bowel control issues caused by a herniated disc promptly. Delaying medical attention may increase the risk of long-term complications and permanent damage. If you experience any unusual symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical attention from a qualified Doctor/Physiotherapist.

Who are in risk of developing disc herniation

Who are in risk of developing disc herniation

It’s important to be aware of your risk factors for developing a herniated disc, as certain factors can increase your likelihood of experiencing this condition. While anyone can develop a herniated disc, some people are at a higher risk.

Here is a list of individuals who may be at an increased risk of developing disc herniation:

  • Overweight or obese individuals
  • Smokers
  • Individuals who lift heavy objects with their back instead of their legs
  • Individuals who twist their back while lifting heavy objects
  • Those with physically demanding jobs that put pressure on the spine
  • Individuals who frequently drive for extended periods
  • Those leading a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity
  • Men between the ages of 30 and 50.

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s essential to be aware of any symptoms that may indicate a herniated disc and take appropriate precautions to avoid potential complications.

Checking the ‘Red Flags’

A herniated disc can cause a range of symptoms, some of which can be considered “red flags” that indicate a more severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. Here are some potential red flags associated with disc herniation:

  • Progressive weakness in the legs or arms
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Numbness or tingling around the genitals or anus
  • Severe or increasing pain that is not responding to conservative treatments
  • Loss of sensation or motor control in the affected area
  • Symptoms that suddenly become much worse

These symptoms may indicate a more severe condition that requires urgent intervention, in some cases may also need surgery and delaying treatment could result in long-term complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I diagnose a herniated disc myself?

    While you can be aware of the symptoms associated with a herniated disc, it’s essential to receive a proper medical diagnosis from a healthcare professional to ensure accurate treatment.

  2. What are the primary symptoms of a herniated disc?

    The main symptoms of a herniated disc include lower back pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the lower back or legs, and muscle spasms or stiffness in the affected area.

  3. What is sciatica, and how is it related to a herniated disc?

    Sciatica is radiating pain that travels from the lower back down the legs, caused by the compression of nerves in the lower back. It can be a symptom of a herniated disc when the disc presses against the nerves in the spine.

  4. What are the “Red Flags” that indicate a severe herniated disc?

    Red flags include progressive weakness in the legs or arms, loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness or tingling around the genitals or anus, severe or increasing pain not responding to conservative treatments, loss of sensation or motor control in the affected area, and symptoms that suddenly become much worse.

  5. When should I seek medical attention for a possible herniated disc?

    If you experience any red flag symptoms or if your pain, numbness, or weakness persists and interferes with your daily activities, it’s important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional.

  6. Who is at a higher risk of developing a herniated disc?

    Those at a higher risk include overweight or obese individuals, smokers, individuals who lift heavy objects with their back instead of their legs, those with physically demanding jobs that put pressure on the spine, individuals who frequently drive for extended periods, those leading a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity, and men between the ages of 30 and 50.

  7. Can a herniated disc be treated without surgery?

    Yes, in many cases, a herniated disc can be treated conservatively through rest, physical therapy, and medication. Surgery is typically considered if conservative treatments fail to provide relief or if the patient experiences severe symptoms that require urgent intervention.

References:

  • Gilbert, J.W., Martin, J.C., Wheeler, G.R., Storey, B.B., Mick, G.E., Richardson, G.B., Herder, S.L., Gyarteng-Dakwa, K. and Broughton, P.G., 2010. Lumbar disk protrusion rates of symptomatic patients using magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 33(8), pp.626-629. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475410002083
  • Chou, R., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., Casey, D., Cross Jr, J.T., Shekelle, P., Owens, D.K. and Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Physicians/American Pain Society Low Back Pain Guidelines Panel*, 2007. Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of internal medicine, 147(7), pp.478-491. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-147-7-200710020-00006
  • Brinjikji, W., Luetmer, P.H., Comstock, B., Bresnahan, B.W., Chen, L.E., Deyo, R.A., Halabi, S., Turner, J.A., Avins, A.L., James, K. and Wald, J.T., 2015. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. American journal of neuroradiology, 36(4), pp.811-816. http://www.ajnr.org/content/36/4/811.short
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