Lower back

Low Back Pain and Lumbar Disc

What is low back pain caused by a lumbar disc disorder?

Low back pain can develop when an intervertebral disc is damaged by an accident or doe not longer work properly anymore due to ageing. This usually occurs in the bones of the lower back or neck, but it can also occur in the spinal column of the chest.  This causes low back pain.

Causes

Ageing or accidents can cause the inner part of the intervertebral disc to bulge out and a tear may even occur in the outer layer of the intervertebral disc. This is commonly known as 'lumbago'. The inner part of the disc is pushed forwards towards the spinal canal. These age-related changes in intervertebral discs are normal and happen to everyone. Anyone can therefore suffer from a herniated disc in the back. This condition runs in certain families.  It can also be caused by an accident. Smoking appears to influence the development of a herniated disc, particularly the severity.

Signs and symptoms

The main symptom caused by a disc is pain in the middle of the lower back. The pain often gets worse upon coughing, sneezing or straining, but also on bending forwards, backwards and to the side. Sometimes the pain radiates to the back of the thigh.  The pain can usually be provoked by prolonged, one-sided overloading such as sitting or standing for a long time, or sauntering. Walking and cycling usually cause fewer symptoms.

How is a lumbar disc disorder diagnosed?

If you have low back pain that worsens upon coughing, sneezing or straining, there is a strong chance that you have a disc problem. In addition to neurological examination, the movement of the lower back and hip is checked for limitation and pain. The back is also examined to see if any of the vertebrae hurt when they are pressed.

Do I need additional examinations?

  • Diagnostic examination for other non-physical factors important for your pain, have already been done by yourself trough filling out your pain questionnaires.
  • If necessary, an X-ray or an MRI scan of the lower back will be carried out to exclude other causes.

 

What are my treatment possibilities?

Multidisciplinary treatment

Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to start physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations may be carried out and, apart from physical treatment, other methods of treatment will be suggested.

Non-physical treatment

If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:

Physical treatment

Medication

Interventional pain treatment