A herniated disc, commonly referred to as a “slipped”, “ruptured” or “bulging” disc, is one of the most common conditions for a patient to visita spine specialist.
A herniated disc may occur anywhere in the cervical (neck area), lumbar (lower back area), or thoracic (chest area) areas, along the spinal column. When a disc becomes herniated, a portion of the disc moves into the spinal canal, causing pressure on the spinal cord or the surrounding nerves.
The disc (intervertebral disc) acts as a compression cushion between the bones (vertebrae) along the spinal column. The disc is an extremely important structure, which allows for spinal motion while helping to protect the spinal cord, as well as the nerves in the spinal canal.
A herniated disc is a common injury that can affect any part of the spine. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and other problems in the arms or legs.
The symptoms of a herniated discdependupon where in the body the herniated disc occurs, and if there is significant enough pressure on the nerve.
Symptoms can be relatively mild to quite painful, drastically limiting mobility and leaving the patient incapacitated, depending upon the type of disc herniation, as well as its positioning.
Causes:A herniated disc can occur to individuals of all ages. Certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a herniated disc are:
- A hard slip-and-fall.
- Lifting heavy weight (especially with improper form).
- Constant twisting motion in the back. Especially if it is jerky and uncontrolled.
- Result of any type of accident, vehicular or otherwise.
A lumbar disc herniation is a specific type of herniated disc that occurs specifically in the lower back.
Common symptoms of a lumbar disc herniation are:
- Muscle Spasms in the lower back
- Moderate to Severe pain in the lower back, buttocks, and hamstrings.
- Lumbar Radiculopathy or Sciatica. The symptoms from a nerve being compressed as a result of a herniated disc or pinched nerve. These symptoms can include:
- Burning feeling in the area
- Numbness, or Concentrated tingling from the lower back to the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet.
- Weakness may be a result of the muscles in the legs and feet, especially if there is significant amount of pressure on the nerves.
A cervical disc herniation occurs when the disc becomes herniated in the upper spine area, nearest to the neck.
Common symptoms of a cervical disc herniation are:
- Muscle Spasm in the neck and shoulders
- Moderate to Severe pain in the neck and around the shoulder blades or scapula.
- Cervical Radiculopathy. The symptoms from a nerve being compressed as a result of a herniated disc or pinched nerve. These symptoms can include:
- Burning feeling in the area
- Numbness, or a concentrated tingling from the neck to the shoulders, arms, forearms, and hands.
- Weakness may a result of the muscles along the arms and hands, especially if there is significant pressure on the nerves.
The majority of disc herniations do not require surgery. Common non-surgical treatment options include:
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Epidural Injections
When the pain becomes severe enough, and there is a significant amount of muscle weakness, or your overall condition deteriorates especially fast, surgery may be necessary. The surgeons at Comprehensive Spine Care work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based specifically on your symptoms, the results of your physical exam, and the MRI results.
For a lumbar disc herniation, surgery typically would be a Lumbar Microdiscectomy.
For a cervical disc herniation, the most common surgical options are Posterior Cervical Discectomy/ Foraminotomy, Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, or an Artificial Disc Replacement. If you might be feeling any of the related symptoms contacts us today and get your back diagnosed.