Unfortunately, we all experience health issues from time to time. Lower back pain, for instance, is a prevalent condition that tends to sneak up on you when you least expect it. One minute you’re seated comfortably watching your television, and the next, you try to stand up, and an intense pain radiates through your lower back.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing back or leg pain, then you might have a herniated disc. Besides lower back pain, which is the most common symptom of this condition, patients also tend to experience leg pain.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
The backbone, also known as the vertebral column, is made up of bones that are separated by discs- small and round pillow-like structures that act as shock-absorbers for the spinal bones. The discs contain an outer layer known as an annulus surrounding a nucleus- a soft, jelly-like center.
A herniated disc occurs when the annulus is torn or ruptured, resulting in part of the nucleus being pushed out of the annulus. Consequently, patients tend to experience immense back pain and discomfort.
Some of the common symptoms of this condition include:
- Sciatica: The herniated disc causes pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and a burning sensation in the buttocks, leg, and foot. This condition is known as sciatica.
- Muscle weakness in your legs.
- Numbness in the leg or foot.
- Continuous or intermittent back pain that worsens with slight movements such as sneezing or coughing.
- Changes in your bladder function.
- Decreased ankle and knee reflexes.
How do herniated discs affect your legs?
- Cervical spine: The first seven bones in the spine that are located in the neck.
- Thoracic spine: The subsequent twelve spinal bones that are located in your chest area.
- Lumbar spine: The next five vertebrae (spinal bones) located in the lower back.
Leg pain often occurs in patients who have developed a lumbar spine herniated disc. A lumbar spine herniated disc can cause pressure on the nerves exiting your spine and affect the pathway of the nerves going down into your legs.
Consequently, this causes compression and inflammation of the nerves, sending pain signals down the leg. Besides the pain, other common sensations you may experience are:
- Numbness of the foot.
- Weakness of the leg or ankle muscles.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If your herniated disc causes leg pain, weakness, or numbness, then you should seek treatment with a medical provider.
Once this condition is diagnosed, numerous treatment options are available for you. These include non-surgical options, such as nerve block injections, medications, physical therapy, and heat and cold therapy.
Surgical treatment is an option if the pain fails to respond to conservative measures and the pain is severe or the weakness does not improve after 6 weeks.
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, then do not hesitate to contact First State Spine. We offer top-tier services, as well as effective treatment options. Book an appointment with us today by filling out the form below: