Disc Herniations
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Although a large percentage of the population experiences low back pain, disc herniations which tend to cause leg pain/numbness [sciatica] are much less common. Some risk factors for developing sciatica is young age [30-50] years old and stressful occupations.

Disc herniations cause compression on the nerve roots which leads to inflammation and sciatica. Sciatica involves pain in the side of the back and buttock region which radiates at times to the legs/feet. Some numbness and weakness may also be present. The pain usually worsens with prolonged sitting or increased abdominal pressure [such as having bowel movements].

The MRI above shows a similar view of the low back. The spinal canal with the whitish fluid is violated by a large, golf sized disc herniation as marked with the white arrow. The Red arrow points to the spinal nerves which are being pushed back by the disc herniation. The Blue arrow points to the white spinal fluid.

Fortunately, most sciatica resolves within a few weeks. If the symptoms are not resolving/improving, physical therapy and injections are options with good success rates.

When a patient fails conservative management, a surgical microdiscectomy is an option to release the pressure on the nerves.

 
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