lumbar disc surgery

The lower five vertebrae of your backbone comprise the lumbar spine. Sometimes, the cartilage disks in this region are damaged, requiring medical attention. Up and down your spine, vertebrae are stacked on atop another. Sandwiched between vertebrae is a cushion – a disk of cartilage. These disks serve as shock absorbers. Each disk has a soft interior and firm exterior. Herniation occurs when the soft interior pushes through the firm exterior. This can irritate nerves in the spinal canal. That can result in pain, numbness and weakness in various body parts. In rare cases, a “ruptured disk” can affect bowel and bladder control. Herniation occurs for several reasons:  aging, smoking, not exercising, driving a lot, improperly lifting heavy weights and repeated movements that stress the spine. Fortunately, most patients do not need surgery.  Instead, rest, physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medicine and steroid injection aid recovery. Surgery usually involves a microdiskectomy to relieve pressure on an affected nerve. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the herniated part of the disk and any fragments in the area.

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