What exactly is a herniated disc?
Spinal vertebras are the stacked, bone building blocks that make up the spine. Between each vertebra is a disc, a body of strong connective tissues, that acts as a cushion. When this "cushioning" is pushed outside of its normal resting position, due to strain or injury, it often referred to as a herniated disc. The disc moving on its own is really not an issue… in fact, if no symptoms are experienced, then typically no treatment is required. The disc’s proximity to spinal nerves, however, can create significant quality of life issues.
So what are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
The following list of herniated disc symptoms that may help you decide whether it is time to visit your doctor to discuss treatment options.
- If a disc is not pressing directly on a nerve, you may experience a dull ache in the lower back. This pain may dissipate and stop completely over time.
- A slipped disc may also result in pain, numbness, a pins-and-needles tingling or weakness in of places. This is often referred to as sciatica. The sensation usually occurs on one side or the other of the body. It can occur gradually or suddenly. It may also come and go. It may increase with certain activities... It all depends on the degree of the slip and where it is located.
- If the issue is in the upper back, you will likely feel sciatica in your in the front of your thigh. If the issue is in the lower portion of your lower lumbar area, you will likely feel pain down your lower back, leg, ankle, foot or buttocks. If the slip is in your neck, you may have waves of pain in your shoulders, arms or chest.
- Some individuals experience loss of bladder and/or bowel control because the disc is pressing a very specific nerve. If you experience this symptoms, see you physician immediately as it can be quite serious.
I have some these symptoms… how should I treat my herniated disc?
The good news is that most herniated discs heal on their own without invasive treatments and can be prevented in the future with muscle strengthening and correct lifting techniques. Other treatments include bed rest, activity modification, ice/heat therapy, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, medical support braces, steroids and surgery. Each herniated disc is different so it is important to contact your doctor and discuss treatment options.
Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.
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