The discs are covered with a thick, protective sheath. Thinning or damage of this sheath may cause bulging, protrusion, or hernia. All these changes cause pain.
What is Disc Hernia?
The spine has 5 vertebrae and 5 discs in the lumbar region. The situation is defined as hernia when there is laceration in the disc and when the disc content enters in the spinal cord and causes pressure on the nerves. Hernia can occur due to aging or sudden motions that cause significant pressure on the lumbar region.
Below are the most frequently seen clinical symptoms:
- Pain in the lumbar region and in areas that are innervated by the affected nerves
- Increase in the severity of pain by action, coughing, bending forwards
- Loss of sensitivity in the affected leg in severe cases
- Numbness in the area where there is pain
- Loss of power
- Loss of reflexes
- Difficulty in walking
How is it Diagnosed?
Disc hernia can be diagnosed upon patient’s history, clinical examination findings, and findings in the imaging methods. Radiographical evaluation is the most effective method to define the cause of pain.
Diagnostic methods can be outlined as follows:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MR)
- Computerised tomography (CT)
- Electromyography (EMG)
In cases where there is no loss of power, loss of sensitivity, decrease or loss of the reflexes, treatment options are;
Steroid injection, intradiscal electrothermal therapy, intradiscal plasma laser (L-disq)
In cases where there is permanent loss of sensitivity, loss of power and reflexes surgical intervention is required.