A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured or slipped disc, is a common source of back pain or neck pain. Disc herniation can also cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the arms and legs. Luckily, there are many treatments available to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. Read on to discover more about treating a herniated disc in the back or neck.
Spinal discs are positioned in between each of the twenty-four individual bones (vertebrae) in the spine. Six are located in the neck (cervical region) and seventeen in the middle and lower back. The discs are like rubbery cushions that absorb shock, facilitate flexible spinal motion, and reduce friction between the bones.
Each of the twenty-three discs is made of two parts—a sturdy exterior (anulus fibrosis) and a soft interior (nucleus pulposus). Damage occurs to a disc when a weak spot develops in the hard exterior.
This leads to four potential stages of a disc herniation.
With any stage of disc dysfunction, it can lead to excessive pressure on surrounding tissues such as nerves, muscles, and the spinal cord itself. With stage 4, the inner core of the disc contains inflammatory proteins that cause irritation to the disc wall, spinal cord, or nearby nerves. These are all reasons that a herniated disc injury causes pain, weakness, and other symptoms throughout the back and limbs.
There are many reasons for disc herniation, including:
Wear and tear is a natural part of the aging process and is the most common cause of a herniated disc. It results from a loss of elasticity and water content in the discs, which makes them less flexible.
When discs become less flexible, they are more susceptible to injury caused by improper movement. For example, lifting with your back instead of your legs can lead to a herniated disc in the lower back
Less commonly, you may get a herniated disc after a fall or blow to the back. Other traumatic injuries, such as whiplash, may cause a herniated disc in the neck.
Several factors increase your risk of getting a herniated disc, including:
Not everyone with a herniated disc experiences symptoms, but some do. Most people don’t realize they have (or seek help for) a herniated disc until they experience pain. Which areas and symptoms are present depends on what spine level the herniation occurs at.
To diagnose a herniated disc, your doctor will typically ask for a medical history before performing a physical examination. This involves:
If the doctor is unsure about the diagnosis, they may order:
If you’re suffering from pain associated with a herniated disc, keep reading to learn ways that you can effectively treat your pain and prevent future injury. For persistent or chronic pain, we always recommend talking with your doctor to develop an appropriate treatment tailored to your needs.SHOP HERNIATED DISC PRODUCTS
Next Pages:Herniated Disc Treatment & Relief Options
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