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When should I call my doctor if I have a herniated lumbar disc?

You should call your doctor of you have a herniated lumbar disc if you have pain, weakness or dysfunction. Often, people do not present saying that they have a herniated lumbar disc. Rather, they present with an acute onset of back pain or leg pain. It is the pain, weakness or dysfunction that should prompt a call the doctor.

If you have a lumbar herniated disc, you should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • back pain or neck pain that wakes you up at night
  • loss of bowel or bladder control with your pain
  • numbness, pins-and-needles tingling or weakness in your legs

The discs in the spine are composed of connective tissue that sits between the 24 vertebrae that comprise the spine. The discs act as cushions and shock absorbers between those bones. A herniated disc occurs when part or all of a disc slips or ruptures between the vertebrae in your spinal column, usually because of too much pressure on your back from, for example, bending and lifting something heavy. A lumbar herniated disc is a slipped or ruptured disc in your lower (lumbar) area of your spine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.