A disc herniation is a prevalent source of Neck/ Back pain, arm pain, and leg pain. It is often referred to as a slipped disc or ruptured disc and can occur anywhere in the spine. Most often, it occurs in the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back), typically causing “a pinched nerve.”If you are experiencing pain or numbness in the neck, arm, lower back, or leg, you could be suffering from a herniated disc.
At Center for Advanced Medicine, we use innovative procedures to accurately diagnose your pain, and we use safe, non-surgical procedures to alleviate the excruciating pain causing by your disc herniation.
How Do Disc Herniations Develop?
Discs are soft, rubbery pads located between the bony vertebrae that make up the spinal column. The are composed of a thick outer ring of cartilage (annulus) and an inner gel-like substance (nucleus), discs allow the back to bend and also act as shock absorbers. The spinal column surrounds and protects the spinal cord and nerves. When the cartilage develops a defect or tear, the nucleus can break through. Much like toothpaste, the nucleus bulges out or herniates, putting pressure on the nerves. Even slight amounts of pressure can cause pain, numbness, or weakness.
A disc herniation in the lower spine can put pressure on the sciatic nerve (sciatica). The sciatic nerve is comprised of several spinal nerve branches as they travel from the spine down the length of the leg. When pinched, sciatic pain may be experienced anywhere along these branches, radiating from the buttocks down the back of the leg and sometimes through the shin and foot. Often, leg pain occurs without any back pain.
Up to 90 percent of patients with herniated discs can be successfully treated without surgery!
When we are young, our discs have a high water content. As we age, the water content decreases, causing the discs to become less pliable and more susceptible to wear and tear. Conditions that can further weaken or damage your discs include:
- Heavy or incorrect lifting
- Repetitive twisting movements
- High impact athletic activities
- Excessive body weight
- Traumatic injury
Visit our Spinal Decompression Page to learn more about treating Disc Herniations.
Symptoms of a Disc Herniation:
Symptoms of disc herniations can be different depending on where the injured disc is located. Low back pain and/or leg pain (sciatica) are the most common symptoms of a herniated disc in the lumbar (lower) spine. Symptoms may be experienced suddenly or gradually and may also include:
- Pain in both legs
- Burning, tingling (a “pins–and–needles” sensation), or numbness in the buttock, leg, or foot
- Pain with specific movements, usually bending forward or twisting
- Intensified pain with prolonged sitting, bending, sneezing, or coughing
- Weakness in one or both legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (note that this is rare)
Proper diagnosis starts with a clinical evaluation by an experienced pain management doctor. The type of pain that you may have with a herniated disc can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. At Center for Advanced Medicine, we take extra time with each patient to accurately determine the correct source of your pain, as we believe it is critical to successful treatment.