Herniated Disc

Causes, Symptoms & Treatments For Herniated Disc

A man holds his lower backThe spinal chord is made up of several individual bones or vertebrae that are stacked up one on top of the other. In between each of these bones is a rubbery spinal disc, which functions as a cushion between the vertebrae. This spinal disc is made up of a soft center surrounded by a tough exterior. If there is a crack in the exterior ligament, the soft inner jelly pushes out through the crack and presses on the spinal cord or nerves surrounding it. This is referred to a herniated disc or bulging disc and it could occur in the neck, mid-back or lower back.

Are you concerned that you may have a herniated disc? At Lakeland Spine Center, we want you back to feeling better as soon as possible. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free, no obligation consultation with the doctor to discuss your problems.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated disc symptoms vary depending upon the nerve that is being pressed. If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you will feel intense pain in your arm and shoulder accompanied by a shooting pain in your arm or leg when you sneeze or cough or when you move your spine in certain positions. A herniated disc in your lower back, will cause severe pain in your thigh, buttocks and below your knee.

Other symptoms could include numbness or tingling in the part of the body that is served by the affected nerve. A herniated disc could also cause weakening of the muscles that are served by the distressed nerve, causing you to become imbalanced or impeding your ability to hold or lift anything.

Factors that Contribute to Herniated Disc

Your age, weight and occupation are the three biggest factors that contribute to disc herniation. As you age, your spinal discs begin losing some of their water content, causing them to become dry and rigid and more susceptible to rupturing and tearing even with slight twisting or straining. Excess weight puts additional strain on the discs in your lower back, causing them to weaken and be more prone to tearing.

Any sport or job that is physically demanding and involves repetitive twisting, bending, pushing, pulling or lifting may also increase your risk of rupturing your disc.

Effective Treatment for Herniated Disc

Your doctor will first recommend conservative treatment for your herniated disc. This involves following a specially designed exercise and medication regimen aimed at shrinking the protruding disc and alleviating the painful symptoms.
While over the counter pain medications are effective for mild to moderate pain, narcotics or even cortisone injections may be necessary if the pain is severe.The doctor may suggest surgery if none of the above treatment measures alleviate your symptoms or if X-Rays show that there is a disc fragment lodged in your spinal canal.

You should seek medical attention immediately if the pain in your neck or back travels down to your arm or leg or if the pain is accompanied by numbness, weakness or a tingling sensation.