The bones in our backs are called vertebrae; spongy discs separate the vertebrae. If these discs are healthy they act like shock absorbers to keep the spine flexible. If a disc is damaged it can bulge and pinch a nerve or break open. This is what is called a herniated disc.
For the most part, herniated discs happen in the lower back. Sometimes they can occur in the neck and very rarely in the upper back. The main cause of a herniated disc is wear and tear due to age. As a person ages, the discs dry out and are not as flexible. Another common cause of a herniated disc is injury to the spine.
When there is an injury to the spine, the disc can have cracks or tears in it. This can cause the gel inside the disc can be forced out. This can cause the to break open, shred, or bulge. When the disc bulges out from between the vertebrae, the nerves and spinal cord can become pinched. There is enough space between the nerves and discs but when the disc becomes herniated and out of place it can pinch or crush the nerves or spinal cord.
Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on area of bulge. When the nerves and spinal cord become pinched they do not work correctly and can send abnormal signals to the brain causing abnormal body activity and pain. Some more common symptoms include bowel or bladder problems, electric shock pain, muscle weakness, tingling and numbness.
If you are having bowel or bladder problems and have a herniated disc this could be very serious. It can be a sign of cauda equina syndrome and is a medical emergency. When there is pressure on the nerves it can create a feeling call electric shock pain, the shock can go down your legs if the herniated disc is in your lower back or it can go down your arms if it is in your neck and upper back.
Tingling and numbing can occur in relatively the same area as electric shock pain does. Most people with a herniated disc experience some type tingling, numbing or pins and needles sensation. Muscle weakness may be caused when the nerve is pinched and interrupts the signal to the brain. Nerve irritation can be tested through a reflux exam.
There are many treatment options for a herniated disc. Herniated disc treatments depend on many things such as the patient’s activity level, the patient’s age, symptoms the patient is having and whether they are getting worse or not. More often than not treatments begin small and increase if the patient’s symptoms increase.
Herniated disc treatments can be as simple as back pain exercises and rest. Ice and heat wraps are also simple herniated disc treatments. If the simple treatments do not work then the next step could be physical therapy. If that fails as a good herniated disc treatment then your doctor may prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory medicines and/or pain medications. If all else fails your doctor may suggest surgery.
In conclusion, a herniated disc can be serious and cause serious health problems. If you think you may have a herniated disc it is best to see your doctor as soon as possible. This article in no way is a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be taken as such.
A slipped disc (often called a ‘herniated’ or prolapsed disc) is one of the most common causes of back and leg pain, but firstly it’s important to understand what it is and why you have got it.
The disc, which provides a cushioning between the vertebrae of the spine, consists of a harder outer shell, with a softer jelly like centre. When the outer surface becomes ruptured, the jelly like substance pushes into the spinal canal and reduces the space for the nerves, which exit the spine.
These nerves then become irritated and inflamed, which can cause pain anywhere along the path of the effected nerves, and in many cases cause a symptom called Sciatica.
So just what are herniated disc symptoms? Well before I answer that question, let me give you a brief description of what a herniated disc is -:
The discs that sit between each vertebra in our spinal column, act as shock absorbers, and assist our bodies with twisting, turning and lifting, and also enable us the flexibility we need to perform our day to day activities.
These discs are made of a tough cartilage outer casing (annulus), and are filled with a softer – jelly like matter (nucleus). When one or more of these discs are stressed or injured – the outer shell of the disc can rupture, forcing the jelly like centre to push through into the spinal canal, and can put pressure or ‘pinch’ the nerves that exit the spine.
Firstly, when considering herniated disc treatment, there are several things that must be considered before taking any kind of action.
The herniated disc treatment that you decide on will depend how severe the pain is, the size of the herniated disc, and what treatments that you have already tried. In around 90% of cases effective herniated disc treatment can be achieved without the need for a surgical procedure.
Now if you have read our previous page ‘herniated disc symptoms’ you will know that most of the actual pain you are feeling is caused by an inflamed nerve, and/or muscle spasm, not from the actual disc itself, so the first steps to herniated disc treatment to consider, is to reduce the inflammation, and therefore reduce the pain.
Vertebral Disc problems are very painful. They haunt you with excruciating and shooting pain. Vertebral is a plate or disc of cartilage and fiber that contains a nucleus pulpous, a mass of white elastic fiber in its center situated between the vertebrae or bones of the spinal column.
Disc problems tend to deteriorate with age. The deterioration or any injury or any stress can bring on painful disorder known as slipped disc, herniated disc, pinched nerve or ruptured disc.
In the herniated disc when the disc ruptures or slips, the white elastic fibers protrude through the cartilage exerting pressure on the adjacent nerve root generating unbearable pain in the effected area.
A herniated disc can be completely painless at times, but the degenerative disc can produce intense pain. Degenerative means that the condition is likely to deteriorate with time. Most patients of Read more