Low Back Pain Herniated Disc - Romatem

Intervertebral Disc Herniation: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Methods

Intervertebral disc herniation is a condition that occurs when the discs in the lower part of the spine weaken, tear, or slip, causing compression on the nerves. This condition is often the result of sudden movements, excessive strain, or heavy lifting. Symptoms of disc herniation typically include lower back pain, hip and leg pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Intervertebral Disc Herniation?
  2. Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Herniation

   2.1 Severe Lower Back Pain:

   2.2 Numbness and Tingling in the Legs:

   2.3 Muscle Weakness in the Legs and Feet:

   2.4 Urinary and Bowel Issues:

   2.5 Difficulty Standing and Sitting:

   2.6 Increased Pain During Coughing and Sneezing:

  1. What Causes Intervertebral Disc Herniation?
  2. What Are the Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Herniation?
  3. How is Intervertebral Disc Herniation Diagnosed?
  4. Treatment and Methods for Intervertebral Disc Herniation

   6.1 Physical Therapy for Intervertebral Disc Herniation

   6.2 Exercises for Intervertebral Disc Herniation

   6.3 Back Pain Exercises

  1. Beneficial Movements for Intervertebral Disc Herniation
  2. Conclusion
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Intervertebral Disc Herniation

   9.1 How many cases of disc herniation occur?

   9.2 What movements should be avoided by individuals with disc herniation?

   9.3 When does disc herniation become dangerous?

   9.4 Where does disc herniation affect the most?

   9.5 How long does it take for disc herniation to heal?

   9.6 What precautions should be taken for disc herniation?

   9.7 Can walking be done when there is pain due to disc herniation?

What is Intervertebral Disc Herniation?

Intervertebral disc herniation occurs when the discs located between the five vertebrae that make up the lumbar spine deteriorate, tear, or slip out of place due to various reasons, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves branching out from it.

Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Herniation:

Severe Lower Back Pain: The most common symptom among herniated disc signs is severe lower back pain. The pain concentrates in the lower part of the spine and is often felt on one side.

Numbness and Tingling in the Legs: The herniated disc exerts pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing numbness and tingling sensations in the legs. This condition occurs alongside back pain and usually develops in the direction where the pain radiates.

Weakness in the Legs and Feet: The condition can hinder the normal function of the muscles in the legs and feet, leading to weakness. Consequently, the patient may experience difficulty lifting weights, walking, or standing.

Urinary and Bowel Issues: In severe cases of herniated disc, problems controlling urination and bowel movements may arise due to pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This situation may require urgent medical intervention.

Difficulty Standing and Sitting: Individuals with herniated discs may find it challenging to stand or sit for extended periods. Symptoms typically worsen with movement and improve with rest.

Increased Pain During Coughing and Sneezing: A herniated disc can cause pain to intensify during activities like coughing, sneezing, or strenuous movements. This indicates increased pressure on the spine and nerves.

The severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the size of the herniated disc, where the pressure is applied, and the individual’s overall health condition. These symptoms provide crucial clues for diagnosing a herniated disc, emphasizing the importance of individuals experiencing these symptoms to consult a healthcare professional. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help alleviate problems caused by herniated discs and expedite the healing process.


Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Herniation

Intervertebral disc herniation leads to severe pain in the lower back and symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs due to damage to the spinal discs. Below are the symptoms of intervertebral disc herniation explained in bullet points.

Causes of Lumbar Disc Herniation:

The fluid content within the discs between the vertebrae diminishes over time due to aging, reducing the disc’s resilience against loads.

Strains such as heavy lifting, uncontrolled sudden back movements, prolonged standing or sitting, falls, and traumas like impacts can lead to disc tears and consequently cause lumbar disc herniation.

While lumbar disc herniation is more common in middle-aged and older adults, it can occur in young people and even children. Although it affects men and women equally, the risk of developing it increases during pregnancy due to rapid weight gain. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for disc herniation.

Additionally, smoking disrupts disc nutrition, leading to fluid loss and increasing the risk of disc herniation. It also prolongs the healing process. Prolonged sitting at a desk, long hours of driving, a sedentary lifestyle, engaging in movements and activities that strain the spine, and participating in inappropriate sports activities are other risk factors for disc herniation.

Weakness in the muscles surrounding the spine and core muscles increases the load on the discs, paving the way for herniation. Therefore, besides avoiding the mentioned risk factors to prevent disc herniation, it is crucial to engage in exercises and sports that strengthen the back, abdominal, and overall body muscles.

Symptoms of Lumbar Disc Herniation:

In lumbar disc herniation, the most important symptom is pain radiating from the back to the leg. Patients often seek medical attention due to this complaint. However, these symptoms may not be present in all cases of disc herniation. Sometimes the patient can be completely pain-free, or there might be pain only in the back initially.

The pain typically travels along the back of the leg to the hip, knee, and even the heel. In cases where there is increased pressure on the spine, such as during coughing, sneezing, and straining, the pain can intensify sharply, and cramps can occur.

Additional symptoms can include pain, numbness, burning, and tingling in one or both legs. The cause of these symptoms is the pressure of the herniated disc on the nerves in the leg. In cases of severe nerve compression, more advanced neurological problems can arise, such as weakness in the leg, difficulty walking, loss of bladder control, and sexual function problems.

he patient starts experiencing difficulties in daily activities such as sitting, standing, and walking due to pain, stiffness, and reduced functional ability.

How Lumbar Disc Herniation Is Diagnosed:

The diagnosis of lumbar disc herniation is made through a careful patient history, physical and neurological examination, along with imaging techniques such as X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Computed Tomography (CT). In some cases, nerve tests such as electromyography (EMG) might be necessary.

Treatment and Methods for Lumbar Disc Herniation:

Lumbar disc herniation treatment is personalized to the individual. Except for cases of gradual loss of strength and inability to control urination and bowel movements, situations requiring urgent surgical intervention are rare. Generally, the majority of patients can be treated without surgery.

Rest is the first step in treating lumbar disc herniation. However, in recent years, it has been understood that prolonged bed rest can have negative effects on lumbar disc herniation treatment. Therefore, keeping rest and movement restriction as short as possible is essential for the success of the treatment.

In very severe and painful cases, short-term bed rest can sometimes be given, but rest, in this case, primarily involves restricting movements that stress the spine. Advice is usually given to consult a doctor to assess the possibility of returning to work based on the patient’s job.

During this period, pain relievers and muscle relaxants are usually prescribed. In some cases, controlled steroid therapy can be administered. Corseting can be used for a short period when necessary.

Physical therapy methods play a significant role in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation. For this purpose, hot applications, ultrasound, laser therapy, pain-relieving current treatments, massage, mobilization, manual therapy, dry needling, taping, traction (both traditional and vertical traction – Vertetrac) are the most commonly used treatment methods.

In some cases, epidural injections and nerve blocks can be administered in the lumbar region to relieve pain.

Exercise practices should begin early in the treatment of herniated disc and should be an integral part of the therapy.

Initially, the patient is given education on organizing daily activities and a program involving stretching, flexing, and posture exercises that do not exacerbate the pain is initiated.

As the treatment progresses and pain diminishes, endurance and strength-building exercises are introduced. The intensity of the exercises is adjusted based on the patient’s clinical condition, with the goal of returning to daily life and work activities as soon as possible.

Spinal decompression therapy is a successful treatment method applied in the treatment of herniated discs. It involves controlled traction creating negative pressure on the problematic disc. It provides a safe and effective pull compared to other traction methods and can be used in advanced herniated disc cases.

Surgery for herniated discs is the last treatment option resorted to in cases where there are serious and progressive neurological losses and no results have been achieved despite all treatments. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation can be performed if necessary in the postoperative period.


Physiotherapy for Herniated Disc:

Physiotherapy is a non-invasive approach used in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems such as herniated discs. Physiotherapy aims to alleviate symptoms, reduce pain, and restore functions.


Physiotherapist Evaluation:

The physiotherapy process primarily starts with an evaluation of the patient by a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist analyzes the patient’s symptoms related to herniated discs and their physical condition, determining the appropriate treatment plan.


Individual Exercise Programs:

One of the fundamental elements of physiotherapy is the creation of individual exercise programs for patients with herniated discs. These programs include exercises aimed at strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. Additionally, exercises to improve flexibility and balance are included in the program.


Posture and Movement Education:

The physiotherapist teaches the patient correct posture and movement patterns. Incorrect postures and movements can worsen herniated disc symptoms. Proper posture and movement habits help reduce stress on the spine and support the healing process.

Heat and Cold Applications:

During the physiotherapy process, heat and cold applications can be used to relieve pain and relax muscles. Hot compresses relax the muscles, while cold compresses help reduce inflammation and swelling.

Electrotherapy and Ultrasound:

Devices such as electrotherapy and ultrasound can also be used in physiotherapy centers. Electrotherapy aims to alleviate pain by using low-level electric current. Ultrasound supports tissue healing by using high-frequency sound waves.

Massage and Manual Therapy:

Physiotherapists can apply massage and manual therapy to patients with herniated discs. These methods help reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow.

Home Exercise Program:

After physiotherapy sessions, patients are given a program containing exercises they can do at home. With this program, patients can regularly perform supportive exercises for the treatment process.

Physiotherapy is an effective method in treating herniated discs, but since each patient’s condition is different, the treatment plan should be personalized. Regular physiotherapy guided by a physiotherapist helps patients reduce pain and return to daily activities, improving their functions.


Herniated Disc Exercises:

Herniated disc exercises target the muscles in the back to strengthen them, increase flexibility, and alleviate pain caused by the herniated disc. These exercises are determined based on the individual needs of the patients by their physiotherapists and are recommended to be done regularly.

These exercises usually focus on the back and abdominal muscles. These muscles support and stabilize the spine. A strong and flexible back can reduce the load on the spine and decrease the pressure on the herniated disc.

For example, herniated disc exercises may include pelvic lifts, abdominal exercises, leg lifts, bridge exercises, and prone leg pulls. Regular and correct performance of these exercises can help alleviate herniated disc symptoms and assist patients in regaining their functions.

However, before starting herniated disc exercises, it is essential to be evaluated by a physiotherapist or a specialist physician. Your exercise program should be customized specifically for you. Additionally, avoiding incorrect execution and not overexerting yourself during exercises is crucial, as this can worsen the symptoms.

Back Pain Exercises

Back pain exercises are exercises designed to alleviate pain in the back area and strengthen the back muscles. These exercises are specifically created to reduce tension in the back, increase flexibility, and prevent the recurrence of back pain.

These exercises are highly beneficial, especially for back pain caused by prolonged sitting, low levels of physical activity, incorrect posture, or heavy lifting.

Back pain exercises typically include movements that target and strengthen the back muscles. For example, among back pain exercises, you can find exercises like pelvic tilts, supine knee-to-chest stretches, bridge exercises, cat-cow stretches, and cobra poses.

These exercises should be performed regularly and with caution. Additionally, if back pain is severe or chronic, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting an exercise regimen. Proper execution of the exercises and avoiding overexertion are crucial, as they can help alleviate and strengthen the back. However, if the pain persists severely or continuously, seeking professional medical help is important.

Walking and Regular Movement: It is important for individuals with herniated disc disease to walk regularly and stay active. However, excessive strain should be avoided, and strenuous activities should be refrained from.

It is crucial to perform these movements correctly and avoid overexertion.

If you have a herniated disc condition or concerns about your movements, it is important to consult a physiotherapist or a specialist. Having a personalized exercise program can contribute positively to the herniated disc treatment process.

You might also be interested in:

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The Disease You Think Is a Hernia Might Be a Narrow Canal


At Romatem, we aimed to provide comprehensive content on this important health issue with topics specifically tailored to herniated discs. Under the titles mentioned above, we have provided important information about the meaning of herniated discs, their symptoms, treatment options, and points patients need to be aware of.

Frequently Asked Questions About Herniated Discs:

How many herniated discs can a person have?

The number of herniated discs varies from person to person. Therefore, it is not possible to specify a particular number.


What movements can’t be done with a herniated disc?

Individuals with herniated discs should generally avoid movements such as bending the back, lifting heavy objects, and sudden twisting. These movements can exert excessive pressure on the spine and worsen the herniated disc.


When does a herniated disc become dangerous?

The condition becomes dangerous when symptoms such as pain caused by pressure on nerve roots or the spinal canal intensify or become uncontrollable.


Where does a herniated disc hurt the most?

Herniated discs usually occur in the lower back area (lumbar spine).


How many years does it take for a herniated disc to heal?

The healing time of a herniated disc varies from person to person as it depends on many factors. The response to treatment varies based on the severity of the herniated disc.


What should be considered with a herniated disc?

  • Individuals with herniated discs should consider the following:
  • Consultation with a Doctor
  • Physical Activities
  • Correct Posture and Lifting Techniques
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight
  • Ergonomic Adjustments
  • Regular Exercise and Physiotherapy
  • Avoiding Stress
  • Healthy Nutrition
  • Following Medication and Treatment
  • The above points should be taken into account by individuals with herniated discs to alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Can you walk while experiencing herniated disc pain?

Exercises should be avoided during pain, and medical support should be sought.