Let’s take a look at lumbar disc injury; also falsely known as “slipped disc” – please note, the disc does not slip, this is a horrible term that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of the English language!
Lumbar disc injuries are most common in people aged between 30 and 50. They affect twice as many men as women. They are a form of sciatica, typically caused by injury to the lower back, and leading to compression/irritation of the nerve root as it exits the spine. Severe pain, numbness, pins & needles and even loss of strength are common symptoms of disc herniations, and can be felt in the lower back, or in the leg (where it’s often called “sciatica”). Suffering the above symptoms in both legs, including particularly private areas &/ loss of control/sensation of bowel or bladder are a cause for significant concern, and should present to hospital as soon as possible.
Disc herniation can occur as a result of age-related degeneration of the annulus fibrosis. However trauma, straining, torsion and lifting injury are also frequently involved. Disc herniations are common incidental findings on MRI scans; with about half of 40 year olds having a bulge which presents with no symptoms whatsoever. Approximately ¾ of symptomatic disc herniations will recover spontaneously; over a 6-9 month time-frame. Symptomatic disc herniations are most likely to occur in people aged 30-50; and most likely in the lower 2 discs; though above that age, they become more common higher in the spine.
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