A herniated disc is a painful and debilitating condition that can affect your quality of life. It occurs when the inner portion of a spinal disc ruptures, causing the outer portion to bulge out and press on a nerve root. It is a common cause of lower back and neck pain, as well as numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.
The most common cause of a herniated disc is overuse or injury to the spine. Repetitive or strenuous activities can put excessive strain on the discs, resulting in a tear or rupture of the inner material. Other causes include aging, which can cause the discs to wear down and become more susceptible to damage, and trauma, such as a car accident or a fall.
The main symptom of a herniated disc is pain. Depending on where the disc is located, the pain may affect the lower back, neck, or extremities. It may be sharp or burning, and can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
If you think you may have a herniated disc, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical examination to identify the source of your pain. Additional tests such as an MRI or CT scan may be ordered to view the spine in more detail.
Treatment for a herniated disc typically begins with rest and pain medication. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility, while anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the herniated disc material or to fuse the vertebrae together.
Getting a herniated disc is not something anyone wants to experience, but with proper treatment and care, you can manage your symptoms and get back to your normal activities. If you think you may be suffering from a herniated disc, contact your doctor right away.