Definition, causes & symptoms of herniated disc

The vertebrae of our spine are cushioned by discs. The discs are located between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column and act as a shock absorber for the spinal bones. A herniated disc is when a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out and into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the outer layer. Due to this displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves and produces pain which may be severe.

Some of the common causes of a herniated disc are:

  • A single excessive strain or injury on the spine
  • Age factor; as we get older, the ligaments that hold the disc in place begin to weaken which can be ruptured by minor strain or twisting movement

The symptoms of a herniated disc vary greatly from a person to another person. It also depends on the position of the herniated disc and the size of the herniation.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Low back pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the area of the body which the nerve travels
  • Pain or burning that radiates from the buttock into the leg
  • Dull or sharp pain in the neck or between shoulder blades
  • Pain that radiates from the arm to the hand or fingers
  • Numbness in the shoulder or arm

How can it impact your daily life?

The chances for a herniated disc to get better is relatively good. Most people can get better in about 4 weeks, sometimes it takes longer for other people.

Due to the severity of the pain caused by a herniated disc, it can affect your ability to work. Your mobility can be impacted and you may not be able to stand or sit in the same position for long periods.

Hence, you should get medical assistance immediately if you are experiencing one of the symptoms as early treatment could treat the herniated disc from becoming more severe.

Find out how you can improve your condition with our Neurology medical experts at Regency Specialist Hospital.

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