Low back pain (LBP) may be associated with lumbar intervertebral disk herniation. A subset of patients with diskogenic LBP may have radicular symptoms that include buttock and leg pain ( also known as radiculopathy or sciatica ) and sensation impairment such as numbness / tingling or muscle weakness in lower extremities. Other signs of neurological compromise associated with lumbar disk herniation are bowel and bladder dysfunction. Lumbar discectomy may be indicated when diagnostic imaging reveals disk herniation, which correlates with radicular and or neurological symptoms.
A micro-discectomy is more effective for treating persisting and continuous leg pain than lower back pain which is as a result of impingement on the nerve root (compression). While it may take weeks or months for the nerve root to fully heal and any numbness or weakness to get better, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately after a micro-discectomy spine surgery.
A micro-discectomy might not be an option if the leg pain ( sciatica ) is more intermittent in nature and its provocation depends on body position or activity level. In theses cases physical therapy alone could help patients to obtain complete relief of their leg pain.
For patients with pain and functional limitations persisting post surgery, physical therapy may be a viable postoperative treatment option.
The results of the research on the efficacy of rehab post surgery in adults (30–40 years old) who have had a first-time lumbar discectomy indicates that exercise programs initiated 4 to 6 weeks after surgery may decrease pain and disability compared with no rehabilitation program. It also suggests that, compared with low-intensity programs, higher-intensity exercise programs might lead to faster decreases in pain and disability.
The outcome success of micro-discectomy for a lumbar disk herniation depends on the postoperative regimen offered. An intensive 12-week strength and endurance training program of the trunk and lower-extremity musculature is safe and results in a greater reduction in disability and a greater increase in walking performance immediately following the intervention.
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