The nurse is assessing a patient who has been suffering from low back pain for the past three weeks. Which of the following suggests a herniated disc?


• With a herniated intervertebral lumbar disc, the spinal nerve roots may be compressed, causing impingement. This results in pain radiating down the posterior thigh and leg via the sciatic nerve.

• Nerve root impingement may radiate to the foot and cause pain or numbness in the sole or the dorsal and lateral aspect of the foot. Weakness may be noted when attempting to raise the big toe or ankle.

• Redness, swelling, and warmth of the calf would suggest either a deep vein thrombosis or cellulitis infection, not a herniated disc.

• Muscle atrophy may occur over time with disuse.

• Knee flexion should relieve pain caused by disc herniation.

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