A herniated disc refers to the slippage of the disc that cushions the adjacent bones of the spine. It is a very common problem worldwide. It usually affects people in their third to fifth decade of life More males than females suffer the debilitating symptom of a herniated disc1. Let’s talk more about herniated disc and how to identify it.
What is a Herniated Disc?
In order to understand more about a herniated disc, let’s talk anatomy first. Normal human spine consists of small, circular flattened bones called vertebrae. Adjacent vertebrae are separated from each other by a small disc known as intervertebral disc.
Intervertebral discs are oval shaped pads made of fibrocartilage. They
1. REDUCE IMPACT. They provide cushioning for the vertebrae and reduce the stress caused by impact. By keeping the vertebrae separated from each other, they act as a type of shock absorber for the spine.
2. NERVE PROTECTION. They help protect the nerves that run down the spine and between the vertebrae.
3. FLEXIBILITY. They increase the flexibility of the spine and allow us to bend over at the waist without rubbing the vertebrae into each other.
Discs that become herniated usually are in an early stage of degeneration. A herniated disc (bulged, slipped or ruptured) is a fragment of the disc that is pushed out and the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe. Common causes of disc herniation:
● Aging related wear and tear of disc structures
● Trauma to the back
The common factors that increase the risk of disc herniation include:
● Heavy weight bearing
● Bad posture
Common Symptoms of a Herniated Disc2
The most common symptom that patients complain of is pain shooting along the course of the nerves being pressed. The pain may vary in intensity from mild to severe. The most common sites of pain include lower back, legs, buttocks, thighs, and feet. If higher discs are affected. The pain may be burning or stinging in nature. The pain may occur when the person changes position, coughs or strains while passing stools.
2. Numbness and Tingling
Another common symptom of disc herniation is numbness, tingling, or pins and needles sensation along the route of the nerves being pressed. This occurs as a result of sensory deficit in the areas being supplied by those specific nerves.
3. Muscle Weakness
A herniated disc affects the tone and power of the muscles supplied by the nerves being pressed on. The result is reduced muscle power. A person with herniated disc may face difficulty in walking or other leg movements. If the herniated disc is located higher up along the spine, arm movements may become difficult.
4. Decreased Bowel or Bladder Functions
A herniated disc may affect the nerves controlling bowel or bladder functions. As a result, fecal or urinary incontinence may occur. Such a condition becomes quite distressing for the person facing it.
You don’t have to live with the agony of a herniated disc. Book an appointment today at (855) 457-7463. A number of surgical and non-surgical treatment options exist which can help overcome the signs and symptoms of disc herniation for a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit our website at www.neurocarepartners.com.
1. Dulebohn SC, Massa RN, Mesfin FB. Disc Herniation. InStatPearls [Internet] 2019 Aug 1. StatPearls Publishing.
2. Tokuhashi Y, Matsuzaki H, Uematsu Y, Oda H. Symptoms of thoracolumbar junction disc herniation. Spine. 2001 Nov 15;26(22):E512-8.