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When Lumbar Herniated Disc Requires Surgery

anatomical model of vertebras with intervertebral

Spinal discs are essential in the lower back because they act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, support the upper body, and allow a wide range of motion in all directions.

However, if a disc herniates and a part of its inner material seeps out, the disc can swiftly move from easing daily living to irritating a nerve, resulting in back discomfort as well as pain and nerve symptoms down the leg.

Lumbar herniated discs are a common medical disease that primarily affects people between the ages of 35 and 50. Its symptoms appear out of nowhere. It can also happen when someone lifts something heavy or bends their lower back, placing additional strain on the discs.

What Causes a Lumbar Disc to Herniate?

The annulus, a strong outer ring, covers the nucleus pulposus, the gel-like core of each disc. The discs lose part of the fluid that keeps them malleable and spongy as they age and wear out. As a result, the discs tend to flatten out and grow tougher. 

That process, known as disc degeneration, begins early in infancy and can be seen in imaging studies in early adulthood. The disc’s outer ring may also bulge, break, or tear when pressure or force is applied to it. 

While a lumbar herniated disc can be painful, the symptoms are usually temporary. In fact, most herniated discs do not require surgery. Symptoms will disappear in 9 out of 10 people within days or weeks. 

But although some people with a herniated disc don’t experience any signs or symptoms, the herniated disc can sometimes push against a nerve in the spinal column. In the body area where the nerve travels, this might result in bad back pain, numbness, or weakness.

A medical professional may propose surgery depending on the person’s level of discomfort and impairment. To relieve pressure on the nerve, your doctor can suggest one of these three procedures:

  • Open discectomy is when the herniated disc segment is removed during open surgery by the surgeon.
  • Endoscopic spine surgery removes the herniated disc part using a long thin tube called an endoscope. The process is non-invasive and requires a small incision. Only a small scar will develop, allowing for a faster recovery.
  • Surgery on the core of the spinal disc is where the surgeon utilizes tools to get access to the core of the spinal disc, which is subsequently vacuumed out. That decreases the pressure on the nerve by shrinking the spinal disc. The procedure may only be performed if the disc’s outer layer is not injured..

A herniated disc can cause bad back pain. Non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, and over-the-counter pain management products like Sciatica therapy fast dissolving tablets, Penetrex pain relief roll on, and Biofreeze pain relief patch can provide instant back pain relief. 

If your lower back pain is affecting your quality of life and all non-invasive treatments have failed, your doctor will determine the cause of your pain and recommend a treatment plan or surgery that is more appropriate for you.
Want to read more articles like this? Visit our Surgery section.

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