What Is Sciatica And Lumbar Disc Herniation? Pain Travels To Legs

So now that you have pain running down your leg... let's talk a little bit more about sciatica and a herniated lumbar disc.

Well, watch this video to learn more. Can you do me a favor and subscribe to my channel and click on that button so that you're notified of when all of my content goes out. We provide content on physical therapy, holistic health,  wellness, pilates and we'd love to have you watching.

So what is a herniated lumbar disc and why do I have pain running down my leg? Well by the end of this video you'll have a much better understanding of what a herniated disc is and why it is happening. 

My name is Stephen Dunn. I'm a holistic physical therapist and I've been helping patients with this condition since the late 1990s. I would love to help you as well. All right, so let's talk about it.

What is a Lumbar Herniation?

So the first question is: what is lumbar herniation? Okay so there are two lumbar vertebrae, we're going to show those guys right here and right here. Okay, there are two lumbar vertebrae and between that lumbar vertebra is a disc...okay and the disc sits right here between those guys and I'm going to hold that like that. This little yellow piece right here is representing the nerve and this again is the disc, the intervertebral disc and this is the vertebra.

We're just going to say L4 and L5, the lumbar 4 and lumbar 5. And if this was the sacrum, I'm sorry the pelvis has the sacrum at the bottom. These guys will be sitting right here, all right, with a disc in between them as well. So just to kind of get an orientation of where we're at, what we're talking about.

So that is the lumbar disc. Herniation is going to be where when this disc is no longer maintained within its border, okay. Now I'm going to pop this one out and I'm going to slide this one in, okay. So what this is showing is a herniation of the disc.

All right, so right here, that red piece that's popping out. It should all be contained within the space but right here it's popping out and as it pops out it hits... let me come up to here as it pops out it hits this nerve... okay and let's say this is lumbar four and five like we'd already mentioned, well that will go down and create the sciatic nerve and then once the sciatic nerve, once several nerve roots like L4-5, S1, S2 come together they merge the sciatic nerve and they go all the way and they start up into your deep buttocks and it goes all the way down your leg, all the way to the heel underneath the bottom of the foot. 

What is a Sciatica?

So that is in a nutshell now answer the question of what is both the herniated disc and sciatica. So you can have a herniated disc and it'd be pinching the nerve right here... let me get that set up again so you can... have the herniated disc pinching a nerve right here and it only hurt right here but you can also have a herniated disc pinching a nerve right here.

It only hurt down in your calf or your heel and it actually not hurting your back or you can have a situation where it hurts in your back like like crazy and down your leg like crazy and so that's kind of the what a herniation is and why and why the sciatic nerve and why it sends symptoms down your legs. 

Why Do We Have Pain Down Your Leg?

It's because it's traveling down that sciatic nerve but it could also be coming from some pinching of muscles in other areas but more times than not it starts up in the spine itself where that bulge is occurring or where that hernia is occurring.

Now let's talk about the hernia for a second. Here's the disc removed and here's a normal disc, normal disc height, and then it's showing that bulge and so this is kind of some old terminology from back in the 90s but I'm going to use it because I think it makes sense.

In the center of the disc is water like material and the edges of the disc are these rings called the annulus fibers. If you were to compress or bite down into this side of a jelly doughnut then the jelly tends to squish out the back. That's an analogy that was used back in the 90s. I don't know if it's still used that much anymore, it probably isn't.

Most things from the 90s aren't used anymore, but anyway. That's kind of that like the bulging or that hernia. It's really just the water material from the inside of the disc that's seeping out and creating this hernia. So that is what a lumbar herniation is. I've discussed a little bit of sciatica and then why the pain is down the leg. 

All right, now can you do me a favor and can you go to amazon and download my book...

"Retrain the Brain to Solve Back Pain."

It would really help you with everything we're talking about. It will help with a herniated disc, we've talked about lumbar spondylolisthesis in recent videos. This book will go through and teach you a way to help both of those conditions as well as spinal stenosis, all those conditions with an exercise program. 

Call 512-215-4227 to learn more about our P2 Program to help Back Pain…

Thanks for watching guys and be on the lookout for more videos explaining what is disc herniation is and things you can do to help it and other conditions of the back.

Thanks, guys. Y'all take care and we'll see you soon.

Co-Owner / Physical Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Stephen graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 1998 from LSUMC in New Orleans and is a licensed physical therapist in Texas since 2004. Immediately interested in hands-on therapy, he began to study with Brian Mulligan and became certified in the Maitland Australian Approach in 2003. Stephen has since studied the fascial system through John F Barnes Myofascial Release. Stephen completed a comprehensive Pilates training in 2002 and the GYROTONIC Expansion System® in 2009. The combined treatment of manual therapy with mind-body awareness exercises using Pilates and Gyrotonic concepts was the start of his whole-body treatment approach.
Stephen Dunn