L5-S1 herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) is the condition when the intervertebral disc located between the lumbar spine in the lower back and the sacral spine segment in the pelvis gets herniated.

This condition can often result in chronic lower back pain and sciatica, and is particularly common in adults over 50 years of age as a result of the natural aging process.

L5-S1 HNP is often a result of the natural ageing process that causes wear and tear of the disc. The lumbar spine in the lower back is the most flexible part of the spine and also supports most of the body’s weight. This makes it particularly susceptible for disc damage, more so after the age of 50 when the discs that cushion the vertebrae have begun losing their integrity and as result have weakened. However, an interesting fact remains that a disc herniation alone does not result in pain. This occurs only when a nerve gets compressed as a result of the disc herniating.

L5-S1 disc herniation usually compresses the S1 nerve root and can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Local, chronic lower back pain
  • Sciatic pain that travels to the buttocks, posterior thigh, posterior lower leg and down to the heel
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue involving calf muscles.
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or toes
  • paresthesia or tingling down the legs, usually concentrated to one side.
  • Soreness or stiffness

These symptoms begin gradually and sometimes tend to worsen over time. It is generally agreed that conservative treatments tend to be the first choice when treating a herniated disc. Conservative treatments include bed rest with pain medications for a few days, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, nerve blocks, epidural blocks, exercises, etc.

Most cases of HNP in the lumbar spine can be effectively treated with conservative remedies or alternative therapies like Ayurveda and Yoga. A combination of Ayurveda medicine, Panchakarma therapy and Yoga has proven to be quite effective in relieving pain and is becoming hugely popular. However, if you notice that your symptoms do not improve and you find no pain relief even after a few days or weeks of conservative remedies or any of the alternative options, your physician might recommend a surgery to aid pain relief as the last choice.


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