| Disc Herniations
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
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.