What do you need to know about the symptoms of lumbar disc prolapse?

Whenever a disc prolapse happens in the lower portion of the spine which is known as the lumbar spine.

What kind of symptoms or what kind of problems can a patient experience?

Whenever a disc prolapses patients usually feel very severe pain in the back and the muscles of the back go in acute muscle spasm and it gets difficult for the patient even to remain standing and they can even fall down.

But this does not happen in everyone in some patient’s disc pain or back pain can come slowly over a period of months or years.

Once the disc prolapses and it starts compressing on the nerve then the symptoms of nerve compression start appearing which can be in the form of pain along the course of that shattering nerve known as sciatica.

This pain can be along the back of the buttock or front of thigh pain can be even in the knee or in the lower leg below the knee even in either in the outer portion of the leg or inside in the inner portion of the leg this pain can radiate up to the heel can be felt on the dorsum of the foot means the top of the foot or on the bottom of the foot depending on what part of the sheathing nerve is getting compressed.

Similarly, patients along with pain these patients can also start feeling numbness and weakness for similar reasons like;

  1. There can be numbness around the knee if the L3 nerve is getting compressed,
  2. There can be numbness on the dorsum or the top of the foot if the L4 nerve is getting compressed,  
  3. There can be numbness in the great toe if L5 now gets compressed and
  4. There can be numbness along the bottom of the foot if the S1 nerve gets compressed,

Similarly, there can be weakness like foot drop or weakness in the knee that the knee can buckle when you are walking or it gets difficult to put weight on one leg if there is weakness in any of the muscle groups of the lower leg.

Now this pain can be in the form of stabbing burning type or it can be just a feeling of heaviness or ache in the leg.

The pain usually comes on walking and gets relieved on lying down.

Most of the cases of slipped disc present with pain in one’s one leg but there are cases when the disc slip disc starts compressing the nerves of both sides and patients can come with pain in both legs also.

Now in the lower portion of the spine, there are also nerves that control our urine and stool these nerves are present in the center so whenever a disc prolapse happens in the center and starts compressing these nerves the patients can have problems with passing urine and stools.

What kind of problems can they have?


  • They can have difficulty or hesitancy in starting to pass your urine
  • They take more time to pass urine or
  • The flow or stream of urine that slows down or
  • They get intermittent maturation or;

At the end of passing urine, they have a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder that they have not completely emptied the bladder and that is why they need to pass the urine multiple times which means the frequency of urination increases.

Similarly, they can have chronic constipation or they may have to apply more force while passing urine and stools or There can be numbness around the area of passing urine and stools.

If there are urinary or symptoms of difficulty in passing stools then sometimes these patients can need emergency surgery.

 Otherwise, other than that more than 90% of these cases can be managed even without surgery.

Meet Dr. Hitesh Garg: Spine Specialist in India

Dr Hitesh Garg - Spine Specialist in India
Dr Hitesh Garg – Spine Specialist in India

Head Spine Surgery, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram

Fellowship In Spine Surgery, Fellowship In Pediatric Spine Surgery, MS – Ortho, MBBS

Center For Spine And Scoliosis is headed by visionary Dr. Hitesh Garg, a well-renowned spine surgeon in Gurgaon and Delhi NCR region. He is supported by a complete team of physiotherapists, orthotists, physicians, neurologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and anesthetists in providing a complete cure to all the conditions affecting the spine and spinal cord. We believe in treating spine ailments conservatively unless the surgery is an absolute necessity.