Pediatric lumbar disc herniation: a report of two cases and review of the literature.
Summary: This case series describes pediatric patients with lumbar disc herniation treated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Conclusion: Pediatric patients with lumbar disc herniation were successfully treated with traditional Chinese medicine
Background: Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is not a common condition in children. Most reports on pediatric LDH concern the outcomes of surgeries performed in children in whom nonsurgical treatment failed while the outcome of nonsurgical treatment of LDH in children was rarely reported.
Methods: Case 1: a 10-year-old girl presented with back pain and sciatica in her left leg for over 3 months. The physical examination revealed exacerbation of back pain by waist extension or flexion, and a positive Lasegue's sign was revealed in her left leg. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed lumbar disc herniation at the L5/S1 level. She was diagnosed with LDH. After receiving nonsurgical treatment of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for 30 days, the girl had mild low back pain and sciatica and the symptoms had resolved completely at the 3-month follow-up. There was no recurrence within the following 2 years. MRI performed 30 months later revealed that the herniated disc did not shrink significantly. However, she was totally asymptomatic at the follow-up performed 30 months later. Case 2: a 13-year-old boy presented with sciatica in his left leg for over 3 months. The physical examination revealed that Lasegue's sign was positive in the left leg, the level of muscle strength in the left ankle plantar flexors was grade 4. MRI revealed a lumbar disc herniation at the L5/S1 level. He was diagnosed with LDH. The boy underwent 2 weeks of TCM treatment, and exhibited a favorable outcome: only mild pain was noticed in his left buttocks after walking for more than 15 min. He was asymptomatic at the 3-month follow-up and there was no recurrence within the next 3 years. MRI scan performed at 40 months later showed no significant resorption of the herniated disc. However, he was totally asymptomatic at the follow-up performed 40 months later.
Conclusions: For the nonsurgical treatment of pediatric LDH, resorption of herniated discs is not necessary for favorable long-term outcomes, and children with symptomatic LDH may become asymptomatic without resorption.