Lumbar Disk Herniation
Low back pain is common, and if a herniated disk is the cause of your back pain, movements such as bending or twisting can be difficult. The lumbar spine is found in the low back, above your waistline.
The bones of the lumbar spine have a cushion between them called the intervertebral disk. This disk has a tough outer ring, called an annulus, and the center of the ring has a soft, jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. Just behind the disk you can find the spinal cord and the spinal nerve roots, structures that carry messages between the nervous system and the rest of the body. The nerve roots and spinal cord are very sensitive; any pressure or irritation of the nerves can cause pain.
If the center (nucleus) of the disk is injured and pushes against the outer ring, back, buttock, and leg pain may occur. Disk herniations can occur as a natural part of aging, from heavy and repeated lifting, or from being overweight and inactive. Nerve irritation can also cause feelings of numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or loss of feeling in the back and legs.
To avoid worsening of your back pain, you may need to avoid repeated bending, lifting, or twisting. Your physical therapist can teach you how to stay active, which is very important in healing. You can learn exercises that stretch and strengthen, and learn how to care for your spine and stay healthy in the future.