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Gonzales, LA
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Herniated Lumbar Disc, Part 1

Herniated lumbar disc, usually called a slipped or ruptured disk, most often occurs in the lower back. A spinal disk is composed of a soft center encased within a tougher exterior. A herniated disk occurs when some of the softer "jelly" pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.


This week, we start an examination of Herniated lumbar disc, a condition that is one of the most common causes of lower back pain and sciatica (leg pain). We begin by examining symptoms and causes for this all-too-common condition.



The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disk are:

  • Arm or leg pain. A herniated disk in the lower back causes intense pain in the buttocks, thigh and calf. It may also involve part of the foot. A herniated disk in the neck will typically will cause the most intense pain in the shoulder and arm. This pain may also occur in the spine.
  • Lower back pain. Most herniated disks occur in the lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also occur in the neck (cervical spine).
  • Numbness or tingling. Numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves is a common symptom of a herniated disk.
  • Weakness. The nerves affected by the injury tend to weaken the muscles. This may cause loss of proper leg function, or affect the ability to lift or hold items.

Not all patients will experience pain as a disk degenerates. Herniated disks sometimes show up on spinal images of people who have no symptoms of a disk problem.


Disk herniation is most often the result of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear called disk degeneration. Like other parts of the body, as we age, our spinal disks lose some of their water content. That makes them less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing.

Sometimes, using back muscles instead of leg and thigh muscles to lift large, heavy objects can lead to a herniated disk, as can twisting and turning while lifting.

Next week, we will conclude our study of Herniated lumbar disc by examining common risk factors and  treatment options.

If you are experiencing back pain, don’t wait for your family physician; visit Excel Rehabilitation Services on Burnside Ave. in Gonzales, Louisiana. You will receive one-on-one care from an experienced physical therapist!

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