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Lumbar Disc Syndrome

What is it?

The lumbar - or lower back - is the third major region of the spine. Most people have five vertebrae (bones) in their lumbar spine. Some even have six.

Each vertebra has a hole in the center. Together, they form a hollow tube down the spine that holds and protects the spinal cord and nerve roots.

In between each vertebrae are gel-like cushions called intervertebral discs.

As the body moves, these discs prevent the vertebrae from grinding against each other by absorbing pressure and distributing stress.

The term Lumbar Disc Syndrome describes a variety of spine related ailments than can occur alone or in different combinations when discs in the lumbar area of the spine are injured, diseased, or out of alignment.

Causes of Lumbar Disc Syndrome

Herniation of the Nucleus Pulposus
A spinal disc herniation, sometimes called a "slipped disc", is a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc that allows the soft, central portion to bulge out of place.

Lumbar Radiculitis
Lumbar radiculitis is a painful condition occurring along the root of nerves extending from the lumbar region of the spine. Pain may result from the lumbar nerve being pinched, inflamed, irritated, or not working properly because of a lack of proper blood supply.

Lumbar Spondylosis
Usually caused by old age, lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative condition where the space between the vertebrae in the lower spine narrows, causing a variety of health issues ranging from back pain to neurological problems.

Other causes of spondylolisthesis include stress or traumatic fractures. Spondylolisthesis may also be associated with bone diseases.

Spinal Stenosis
The medical condition in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and nerves is called spinal stenosis. This condition occurs with aging but can also be caused by a spinal disc herniation, osteoporosis, or a tumor.

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with Lumbar Disc Syndrome depend on a combination of causes and their impact on the affected nerves and vertebrae.

Common complaints include:

  • Frequent or unrelenting lower back pain
  • Low back tenderness or numbness
  • Lower back pain often extending down through the buttock of one side and into the leg on that side (Sciatica).
  • Mild to intense leg pain
  • Pain all along the back side of the leg that can be described as stabbing or burning.
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness , numbness, or some loss of control in the legs and feet
  • Foot or gait problems, especially a slapping foot during walking
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the low back, legs, or feet
  • Sharp pain in the hip region;
  • Leg and foot pain brought about by certain postures radiating pain, with numbness, tingling and weakness of one or both legs
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Loss of sexual function
  • Pain that decreases with rest or after exercise
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