Pain referred from the back radiating down into the leg can be caused by a herniated disc. A small part of the disc tissue can move from its usual location and press on one or many of the nerves that are responsible for controlling the leg. The herniated disc tissue can cause not only pain but also pins and needles, a numbness sensation or muscle weakness in the muscle group it controls.

Treatment for herniated discs varies widely. Some people may just rest and with medication and time the problem improves. People may also consult their local doctor who may prescribe pain medication along with general advice such as to stay active and keep moving. People suffering from herniated discs may also seek care from a physiotherapist or physical therapist, osteopath or chiropractor. The treatment prescribed by these practitioners varies greatly depending on their method or philosophy of treatment they have learnt.

But what happens if you have had conservative treatment and you are not improving? What happens if the pain is so severe that you are not able to work or do you normal routine? It is in these situations that a surgical opinion should be sought.

Back surgeons typically have a list of criteria that they follow in order that they select those patients who are appropriate and will therefore improve or benefit from surgery. People who are not appropriate should not be offered surgery.

Overall, back surgery is typically performed to relieve leg pain that is referred from the back. The aim of the operation is to get rid of the leg pain; however, local back pain can remain. In order to fully recover following the surgery, an exercise program to ensure proper muscle strength and good flexibility is recommended. A therapist such as a physiotherapist is well trained in providing such a program. They will want to know surgeons post-op back protocol in order to prescribed the appropriate exercises and therefore facilitate healing.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra McFaul is a McKenzie Physiotherapist based in the Inner West of Sydney NSW Australia. She loves helping people to take control of their chronic and recurrent pain using McKenzie Physiotherapy. For more information visit: "Your Herniated Disc Guide"