Herniated Disc: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Herniated Disc | LA Health Solutions

What Is A Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also called bulged, slipped or ruptured disc, is one of the most common causes of pain in the Lumbar Spine (Lower Back). The bones or vertebrae that make up the spine in the back are cushioned by spinal discs. The spinal discs are like small cushioned pillows that are shock absorbers between the vertebrae of the spine. A herniated disc is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus into the spinal canal through a tear in the annulus. Over time the spinal discs are worn down and can cause numbness, weakness, and even shooting pain down the legs and arms. When the discs break down, it usually does not result in long-term disability, and in most cases can be treated with non-surgical methods.

What Causes A Herniated Disc?

The spinal discs are composed of a soft inner core and a tough outer wall. Over time, the discs can dry out and even crack which can lead to degenerative disc disease. Spinal discs are composed mostly of water. When the spinal discs dry out, they become flatter and provide less cushion and padding. The loss of water in the discs causes them to be less effective in absorbing shocks which can cause pain.  A crack or tear can develop on the outer wall due to everyday movements and minor injuries. Tears near the nerves can be painful and if the wall breaks down, the spinal disc can shift and push through the cracks. This movement can cause a bulging disc or slipped disc or herniated disc.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Herniated Disc?

Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, but can also occur in the neck. Symptoms vary depending on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation. If the herniated disc is not pressing on a nerve, the patient may experience no pain at all or a lower backache.  However, if it is pressing on a nerve, there may be pain, numbness or weakness in the area of the body impacted. An individual can have a herniated disc without symptoms; however, if symptoms like arm/leg pain, numbness/tingling or weakness occur, it is important to seek medical attention. Click HERE to learn more about Degenerative Disc Disease.

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