Orthopedic Minute - Lower Back Pain & Disc Tears


Hi, I'm Dr. Heidi Prather at Washington University Orthopedics. I'm a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist. When I see patients at the Orthopedic Center in Chesterfield or at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, often times they come to me for low back pain.

Low back pain is a very common disabling condition especially when it goes untreated. There are specific causes to low back pain some of which are structural. Here on the spine model, one of the structures that might be impaired is the intervertebral disc. The disc is like a jelly donut, it sits between two vertebral bodies which are the bone. If the disc gets a little tear in the outside of it, the jelly in the donut might ooze out which is demonstrated here spinal model. This can cause pain and inflammation and even compress on a nerve right here which might cause pain into the lower extremity.

If you have low back pain that progresses into your lower extremities associated with numbness and tingling, you should seek medical advice.

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