Herniated Disc

 

Overview
A herniated disc is a common injury that can affect any part of the spine. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and other problems in the arms or legs.

 



Disc Anatomy
Vertebral discs are flexible, rubbery cushions that
support the vertebral bones. They allow the spine to
twist and bend. Each disc has a soft inner nucleus
that is surrounded by a fibrous outer wall.

Herniated Disc
A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pushes
through the outer wall. This herniation can result in
a large bulge that can press against nearby nerve
roots.

Causes
Herniated discs commonly result from age-related
weakening of the spinal discs. This is called disc
degeneration, and it can occur gradually over many
years as a result of normal wear and tear on the
spine. A herniated disc can also result from a
traumatic injury, or from lifting a heavy object
improperly.

Symptoms
Symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on
the location of the disc and the severity of the
rupture. Some herniated discs cause no symptoms,
and a person with this type of injury may not realize
the disc is damaged. But a herniated disc can also
cause severe pain, numbness or tingling, and
weakness. Most herniated discs occur in the lower
back, where they can cause symptoms in the
buttocks, legs and feet. Herniated discs also occur
in the neck, where they can cause symptoms in the
shoulders, arms and hands.

Treatment
Treatment options for herniated disc depend on the
location and severity of the injury. A herniated disc
may be treated with pain-relieving medications,
muscle relaxers and corticosteroid injections. A
person with a herniated disc may benefit from
physical therapy. If these methods are not effective,
the disc may need to be treated with a surgical
procedure.