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Herniated Disc Treatment in Illinois

Consult With a Spine Specialist Today

Herniated disc is a painful condition, which may affect the lumbar spine (lower back). Comprised of 33 vertebrae, the spinal column, or vertebral column, relies on resilient, disc-shaped cushions to absorb force between bones and facilitate flexible movement. Under the pressure and rigors of use, the outer layer of a disc can lose its integrity, causing it to rupture or herniate. The lumbar region, made up of the five lowest vertebrae in the spinal column, is a frequent source of herniated disc pain.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Discs positioned between lumbar vertebrae are filled with shock-absorbing material, surrounded by a fibrous layer. As we age, the resilient pads lose water content, making them more susceptible to damage – even during ordinary use. “Slipped” or herniated disc occurs when the tough exterior layer bursts and disc contents push through the opening. As the changes put pressure on spinal nerves, sufferers experience pain and other symptoms.

Causes of a Herniated Disc

The lumbar spine consists of the largest of the backs’ vertebrae and is subject to higher levels of force than the thoracic and cervical portions of the spine. As a result, herniated disc occurs more frequently in the lower back, than other parts of the vertebral column.

Bearing the weight of the upper body, the lumbar spine continually absorbs the impact of everyday movements, such as walking, bending, and reaching. The flexible structure also facilitates movement and absorbs forces experienced during athletic activities. Herniated disc results from weakening of the rubber-like pads, over time, through natural degeneration, or from an isolated incident or injury.

In many cases, it is difficult to pinpoint a single underlying cause, but the following may contribute to lower back pain and herniated disc in the lumbar spine:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Repetitive twisting
  • Reaching
  • Bending to the front or side

Additional risk factors for a herniated disc in the lumbar region include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Strenuous work conditions
  • Sedentary employment/inactivity

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc in the lumbar spine may cause one or more of these symptoms:

  • Back pain – constant or intermittent, and may be aggravated by movement
  • Muscle weakness in the lower extremities
  • Numbness in the foot or leg
  • Muscle spasms in the back
  • Bladder and bowel irregularities
  • Sciatica – pain extending from the lower back into the calf or foot

Call (630) 584-1400 to schedule your appointment with one of the spine specialists to help with your herniated disc and back pain.