Spinal disc deterioration between the lower back vertebrae known as L4 and L5 is one of the most common causes of back pain. These two vertebrae are among the five located in the lumbar region of the spine. This is why the label of these vertebrae is “L4” and “L5”. They’re also among the spinal components that experience the most wear and tear. Most of the wear and tear occurs during everyday activities such as twisting, turning, bending, and lifting. Many factors can lead to the breakdown of the spinal disc that cushions these two vertebrae. However, the most common reason is natural aging. Sometimes a sports injury or trauma from a car accident can damage the spine and cause premature deterioration of the L4-L5 disc as well. This breakdown can lead to a bulging disc.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a bulging disc, this means the tough outer shell that encases the disc’s gel-like inner contents has weakened. Which causes it to protrude into the spinal canal. This is a common condition that many people experience without ever finding out. this is because it only causes symptoms when the disc material rubs against the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root. When nerve compression occurs, you may experience any number of debilitating symptoms including:
- Pain at the bulging disc site and potentially radiating pain to your buttocks, legs, and feet
- Muscle weakness, tingling sensations, and numbness in various parts of your lower body
- Difficulty in lifting a foot, a condition known as “foot drop”
Additionally, in rare cases, a bulging or ruptured disc in the lower back can cause a serious condition known as cauda equina syndrome, which requires emergency medical treatment. This syndrome is characterized by bowel or bladder dysfunction and/or sudden inability to walk or stand.
Treatment for L4-L5 Bulging Disc
It’s important to consult with your doctor before undergoing any type of bulging disc treatment. Your doctor will be familiar with your medical history and the specific details of your L4-L5 bulging disc. They will be able to provide a treatment plan that will help you address your symptoms. In many cases, a doctor will advise patients with a bulging disc to start with conservative treatment. This can include anti-inflammatory medications, hot/cold compresses, and gentle stretching exercises to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve. Many patients can also benefit by easing the every day tensions they put on their lower back through healthy weight management and adopting a better posture.
Unfortunately, some people will not achieve enough relief from their bulging disc symptoms to resume their normal lifestyle. If you’ve tried conservative treatments without success or your doctor has recommended spine surgery, you may be interested in the minimally invasive outpatient surgery performed at BEST Health System. Our minimally invasive procedures provide many advantages versus open back surgery, including less scarring and shorter recovery times.
If you would like to learn more contact us today!