A lumbar bulging disc occurs in the lower back, or lumbar region of the spine. The lumbar spine has either five or six bones, or vertebrae, which are described as L1 to L5, with some people having an L6 vertebra in rare cases. These vertebrae span from the waist to the tops of the hips.
Due to the location of a lumbar bulging disc, it can exert excess pressure on exiting spinal nerve roots that serve the lower half of the body. This can result in symptoms that are felt in the lower back, pelvic region, buttocks, legs and feet. Sometimes the symptoms are related to the compression of the sciatic nerve, which is a large, long nerve that originates in the lower back and extends through the buttocks and down the back of each leg. Symptoms of sciatic nerve compression are collectively referred to as sciatica.
Why lumbar bulging discs are so common
Lumbar bulging disc cases account for a large number of all bulging disc diagnoses. The lumbar region of the spine is prone to damage and injury for several reasons. For instance:
- The lumbar region supports the majority of the body’s weight.
- The lower spine can be easily strained and injured during heavy lifting, particularly when inappropriate techniques are used.
- It is common for this area of the body to receive direct trauma resulting from falls, car accidents and participation in sporting activities.
- Lumbar discs endure significant wear and tear over time, making them prone to weakening and breakdown.
In addition to age-related degeneration, other risk factors for developing a lumbar bulging disc include an occupation that requires heavy lifting, a history of back injuries, lack of exercise, smoking and carrying excess body weight.
Most patients who are diagnosed with a symptomatic lumbar bulging disc find that the condition resolves on its own or with conservative treatment administered over the course of a few weeks or months. Doctors will usually prescribe a limited period of rest, pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to help ease any discomfort. In rare cases, the symptoms might persist or worsen, leading a physician to recommend traditional open back surgery, such as a discectomy.
Minimally invasive surgical treatments for a lumbar bulging disc
USA Spine Care offers minimally invasive spine surgery — including discectomy — for the treatment of lumbar bulging disc symptoms and other forms of neck and back pain. Our procedures provide many advantages compared to traditional open back surgery including a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication.^ At USA Spine Care, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief since 2005, helping establish us as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive approach.
We can offer a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.