Low back pain is common, and if a herniated disk is the cause of the pain, simple movements like as bending or twisting can be complicated. The lumbar spine is found in the low back, above your waistline.
The bones of the lumbar spine have a cushion between them called the intervertebral disc. This disc has a tough outer ring, called an annulus, and the centre of the ring has a soft, jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. Just behind the disc, you can find the spinal cord and the spinal nerve roots, structures that carry critical information to and from the rest of the body. The spinal cord and nerve roots are sensitive; any pressure or irritation on the nerves can cause pain.
If the centre (nucleus) of the disk is injured and pushes against the outer ring, back, buttock, and leg pain may occur. Disc herniations can occur from any number of causes. Often as a natural part of ageing, sometimes repetitive heavy lifting, or even being inactive and reduced spinal muscle tone. Nerve irritation can also cause feelings of numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or loss of feeling in the back and legs.
To avoid worsening of your back pain, you may need to avoid repeated bending, lifting, or twisting. Your physical therapist can teach you how to stay active, which is critical in healing. You can learn exercises that stretch and strengthen, and learn how to care for your spine and stay healthy in the future.