Following your recent MRI scan and consultation with Mr Paremain, you have been diagnosed as having a lumbar disc protrusion, resulting in nerve root compression (trapped nerve) and leg pain (sciatica). The normal lumbar spine has a central canal (passage) through which tiny nerve rootlets splay out like a horse’s tail forming the cauda equina. To each side of the canal, spinal nerve roots branch out at every level. The cauda equina and nerve roots are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and are all contained within a membrane, or covering, called the dura mater, rather like the thin layer that covers a boiled egg with the shell removed.

There are five bones (vertebra) in the lumbar spine (lower back). In between each bone is an intervertebral disc, which acts as both a spacer and a shock absorber. The disc is composed of two parts: a soft gel-like middle (nucleus pulposus) surrounded by a tougher fibrous wall (annulus fibrosus).

Nucleus of disc