Intervertebral Disc Herniation
An intervertebral disc herniation, also known as a herniated disc, slipped disc, or ruptured disc, is an extremely common spinal condition that can cause anything from mild pain to a severe debilitation. Since so many people suffer from this ailment, it’s important to know the common causes and symptoms so you can be aware if a herniated disc starts to affect you. Read on to find out more.
What Is It?
When the jelly in the center of an intervertebral disc is squeezed or forced out of the harder outer shell of the disc, a person experiences a herniated disc. If the disc material pinches on an adjacent nerve root, it may lead to significant symptoms.
Symptoms of an Intervertebral Disc Herniation
Since the spine is surrounded by nerves, this condition can be extremely painful for some. Common reactions also include numbness, weakness, or tingling in an arm or leg. However, some people don’t even notice that they are suffering from a herniated disc.
Generally, an intervertebral disc herniation is most likely to occur in the lower spine (lumbar region) or the neck (cervical area). Where your herniated disc is located will determine where you feel this pain, numbness, or tingling.
Causes of Herniated Discs
Most people can’t narrow down the cause of their slipped disc to a specific event or instance. It usually entails a slow breakdown of the disc during middle age, which can lead to tears in the outer annulus portion. So it is usually a slow degeneration with something small that leads to the symptoms, like a twist or a sneeze or a slight bending.
However, sometimes, people experience a fall or other type of traumatic injury that immediately causes a disc herniation.
Surgery is only necessary for an intervertebral disc herniation less than five percent of the time. Usually, the pain from a slipped disc can be remedied by over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids or muscle relaxers. For extreme pain, your doctor might write you a temporary prescription for narcotics to relieve your symptoms.
Additional treatment options may include physical therapy, spinal decompression therapy or epidural steroid injections. If the conservative treatment fails, surgery is often very effective.