Conditions and Symptoms of Herniated Disc

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Discs cushion bones (vertebrae) that form the back of the spine. Like tiny pillows, these discs are round with a hard, exterior layer (annulus) surrounding the nucleus. The discs found in the spinal column between each vertebra work for the spinal bones as a shock absorber.

A herniated disc or bulged or slipped or ruptured disc is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus through a tear or rupture in the annulus into the spinal canal. Discs that are generally herniated are in an early degeneration phase. There is restricted room in the spinal canal, which is insufficient for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. The disc presses on the spinal nerves because of this displacement, often causing pain, which can be serious and need a back-pain specialist in OKC to treat it.

There may be herniated discs in any portion of the spine. In the lower back (lumbar spine), herniated discs are more prevalent, but also happen in the neck (cervical spine). The region of pain depends on which portion of the spine is impacted.

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Slipped Disc Cause

When the exterior ring becomes fragile or torn, a slipped disc happens, allowing the internal part to slide out. With age, this can occur. Some movements may trigger a slipped disc as well. While twisting or turning to lift an item, a disc can slide out of location. Lifting a very big, heavy object can put a lot of pressure on the lower back, leading to a slipped disc. You may be at enhanced danger for slipped discs if you have a very physically challenging task that needs a lot of lifting.

Also, overweight people are at enhanced danger for a slipped disc because the extra weight must be supported by their discs. Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to a slipped disc's growth.

You're more likely to experience a slipped disc as you get older. This is because as you age, your discs start losing some of their protective water content. As a consequence, they may slip out of location more readily. In males, they are more prevalent than females.

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Symptoms of a herniated disc depend on the place and volume of herniation. If the herniated disc does not press on a nerve, the patient may have low backache or no pain at all. If it presses on a nerve, there may be a pain, numbness in the region of the body where the nerve goes through. A herniated disc is usually preceded by an episode of low back pain or a long history of intermittent episodes of low back pain.

Lumbar spine (bottom back): Sciatica / Radiculopathy often results from a lower back herniated disc. Pressure on one or more nerves contributing to the sciatic nerve may trigger pain, burning sense, tingling sensation, and numbness that floats from the buttock into the arm and sometimes into the foot. Usually one side is influenced (left or right). This pain is often defined as sharp shock-like and electrical. Standing, walking or sitting may be more serious. Straightening the impacted side of the leg can often aggravate the pain. One may experience low back pain in conjunction with shoulder pain; however, the pain in the knee is often worse for severe sciatica than the pain in the lower back.

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Cervical spine (neck):

Nerve compression in the neck is one of the primary symptoms of cervical radiculopathy that may include dull neck pain or pain in between the shoulder blades, pain that floats down the arm, the hand and fingers along with numbness and tingling in the shoulder/arm. With certain neck positions and movements, the pain may increase.

Testing and Diagnosis

Modalities for testing are mentioned below for herniated disc treatment. For this disorder, the most prevalent imaging is MRI. The impacted region's plain x-rays are often added to finish the vertebra assessment. Please note that a disk herniation on plain x-rays cannot be seen. CT scan and myelogram were used more frequently before MRI but are now rarely ordered as the initial diagnostic imaging unless there are special circumstances that warrant their use. It is rare to use an electromyogram.

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Slip Disc Prevention

A slipped disk may not be preventable, but measures can be taken to decrease your risk of creating a slipped disk. These are the following steps:

  • Use secure lifting: bend and raise the knees, not the waist.

  • Keep your weight healthy.

  • Do not sit for lengthy periods of time; get up and stretch on a regular basis.

  • Do muscle-building exercises in the back, legs and abdomen.

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Contact Oklahoma Pain Treatment Centers for a back-pain specialist in OKC.

**Disclaimer: This blog post does not establish terms of a doctor-patient relationship and is not intended to be taken as a doctor's advice.