Lower Back Pain

The Healthy Human Spine
— Lower Back

The healthy human spine (or backbone) is an amazing structure, comprised of 33 vertebral bones, the spinal cord, nerves, and intervertebral discs which help provide shock absorption and flexibility. Divided into five sections (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx), the spine supports your upper body, protects your spinal cord, and enables your spine to move and bend in many directions. Taking care of your spine is critical to having a healthy life, so it’s important to stay active, stretch, watch your weight, practice good posture, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.

Your lower back — or lumbar spine — is an important part of your anatomy. It supports and stabilizes your body and provides you with the flexibility to move smoothly and rotate your body in multiple directions. The five lumbar vertebrae and shock-absorbing intervertebral discs also provide a protective pathway for your spinal cord and nerves that carry signals to and from the brain and the lower half of the body. The lower back also bears a large amount of your body weight when you are standing upright.

Lower Back Pain

There are many reasons why millions of people suffer from lower back pain. Because the lower back bears a large amount of your body weight, it is more prone to injury. A serious accident or trauma to the lumbar spine can result in degenerative changes to the back. On the other hand, normal wear and tear as you age can also result in pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in your back, legs and feet. Lower back pain is often the result of lumbar disc degeneration, a condition in which a vertebral disc in the lower back has deteriorated or been damaged due to the natural aging process or injury. This process can pinch or compress the spinal cord or nerves. Flattening or loss of disc height, ruptured discs, and bone spurs are all conditions of lumbar disc degeneration that create pain or discomfort in the lower back.

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Treatments for Lumbar Disc Degeneration

Most patients first try non-surgical options when treating lumbar disc degeneration. Doctors will often recommend one or more of the following: physical therapy, rest, and medications (e.g., anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers). Some people find relief through electrical stimulation such as a TENS machine. If these conservative options are unsuccessful, there are other treatment options for people with lumbar disc degeneration. These include spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement surgery.

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What is an Artificial Lumbar Disc?

If you and your physician decide on a surgical option such as an artificial disc replacement, your surgeon will first remove your damaged disc and fill the space between the vertebrae with a specialized device called an artificial disc. This implanted disc is designed to restore the correct spacing between the vertebrae and preserve the motion at the treated level with the goal of minimizing any additional degeneration at other vertebral levels.

Available in a variety of sizes to accommodate numerous anatomical ranges, the M6-L™ artificial lumbar disc is an innovative next-generation option for people needing artificial disc replacement as an alternative to spinal fusion. This unique product is designed to mimic your spine’s natural structure and movement, and it is the only artificial disc featuring a shock-absorbing nucleus and fiber annulus that work together to replicate the controlled range of movement and cushioning effect of the natural disc.

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Is the M6-L Artificial Lumbar Disc Right for Me?

To decide if the M6-L disc is the right choice for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you having pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in your lower back, hips, legs or feet? Is it difficult for you to stand or walk?
  • Has your doctor assessed lumbar disc damage by examining your MRI, CT or X-rays?
  • Are you 18 years or older?
  • Have you already tried medications and physical therapy for at least six months? Are your symptoms getting worse even with non-surgical treatments?

If you answered yes to these questions, then the M6-L disc may be the right choice for you. It is designed for people with lumbar disc degeneration (e.g., degenerative damage, ruptured or herniated discs, bone spurs) who have not responded to non-surgical options such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and/or medications. Talk to your surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for the M6-L artificial lumbar disc.

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