Herniated Disc (Lumbar & Cervical)
The disc is a soft, spongy-like material that both cushions and supports the bones of the spinal column, called vertebrae. Often referred to as a ‘jelly donuts’, the disc has a softer center encased in a tough exterior. At times, the disc can herniate or protrude out of its normal lining. When this happens, the disc can pinch upon a nerve upon the spinal cord. These nerves then become irritated and can cause a variety of symptoms, or, many times, can cause no pain or symptoms at all.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Many people have herniated discs in their back and do not know it and don’t experience any symptoms at all. Typically herniated discs occur in the lower back, which is knows as the ‘lumbar spine’, but they can occur in the neck area as well, knows as the ‘cervical spine’.
Typical symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Arm/Leg Pain
- Numbness & Tingling
Causes of a Herniated Disc
Typically, disc herniation is age related. The gradual wear and tear on the body causes the discs to weaken and lose flexibility, which in turn makes them more susceptible to herniation. Most times the cause of a disc herniation can not be pin-pointed to a single act, but things such as lifting heavy objects improperly, traumatic falls or blows to the back can cause a disc herniation.
Treatment Options for Herniated Disc
There are both conservative and surgical approaches to treatment for herniated disc. As always, conservative treatment is the first approach. Treatment options include:
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Pain Medication
- Alternative treatments including acupuncture or chiropractic care