Slipped Disc in Lower Back

Back Surgery Information

Slipped Disc in Lower Back

A large number of senior individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 experience severe pain in the lower back. In most cases, the cause of such back pain is said to be a slipped disc in the lower back. While it is a serious condition, it should be noted that a slipped disc in the lower back is a common condition, which is easily treated. In fact, a large number of physicians prescribe bed rest and inactivity as the condition tends to heal itself over time.

The spine has cartilage discs which separate the vertebrae cushioning them against shock caused by movement. The discs are composed of connective tissue as well as soft jelly-like cores. A slipped disc occurs when the center gel-like core bulges outwards through the connective tissue surrounding it. When it does this, the slipped disc may press on the spinal cord or on the nerves adjacent to it. While it may cause a lot of pain, it should be noted that approximately 20% of all slipped disc cases have no noticeable symptoms.

The cause of the slipped disc condition is mainly attributed to advancing age. As the individual ages, the disc wears out causing a weakness in the connective tissue. The gel-like core bulges at the point of weakness causing the disc to press on the nerve or on the spine. Other causes of a slipped disc include trauma due to an accident or fall as well as hard physical labor. A slipped disc in lower back is the most common type of slipped disc condition. However, there are a rare number of cases where the condition occurs in the thoracic region of the spine.

The most common symptom of a slipped disc in lower back area is the pain caused as the disc presses on the nerve root. There are certain symptoms which indicate whether the disc is pressing on the nerve root, the spinal cord of the cauda equine.

If the slipped disc in lower back is pressing on the nerve root, there may be pain present which radiates down to the arms and legs. Moreover, there might be some form of paralysis. Symptoms indicating that the slipped disc in lower back is pressing on the spinal cord include a disturbance in feeling, muscle spasms as well as loss of bladder control.

Last, if the slipped disc is pressing on the cauda equina, one generally has an uncomfortable feeling in the rectum as well as the thighs. Paralysis of one or both of the legs is also common. Such symptoms should raise red flags and a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Slipped disc in lower back areas are normally treated conservatively. The surgical approach would only be considered if the conservative treatments were unsuccessful. Examples of conservative treatments include physiotherapy, pain medication and bed rest.