What is a Herniated Disc?
A Herniated Disc, commonly referred to as slipped disc or ruptured disc, is a painful condition whereby the cushioning of the vertebrae of the spine becomes damaged either bulging out or breaking open.
Herniated discs can occur anywhere on the spine although people most commonly experience this in the lower back (lumbar spine) sometimes this condition occurs in the neck (cervical spine) and less commonly in the upper back (thoracic spine).
General wear and tear on the spine can cause a herniated disc. As you age your discs begin to dry out and thus are no longer as flexible and “spongy” as before. Alternatively, impacts or injuries to the spine can cause the gel of the disc to leak out through tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc.
Pain caused by Herniated Disc
Pain caused by Spinal Disc Herniation can vary. If the disc itself is the only tissue damaged the pain may be minor, however severe and unrelenting pain can result if the nerve roots are irritated or aggravated by the herniated material. Unfortunately herniated discs are not diagnosed immediately, patients have been know to experience seemingly unrelated “mystery” pains in the thighs, knees or feet.
Potential signs you could be suffering from a herniated disc are:
- Pains in legs (including thighs knees and feet)
- Sciatica or pain in the sciatic region due to irritation of the sciatic nerve root
- Tingling and,
- Muscular weakness
How can a Herniated Disc be treated?
Pain resulting from a herniated disc can be resolved via epidural steroid injections or alternative pain management procedures.
If you believe you are suffering from a herniated disc and would like to investigate a personalized course of treatment, seek a referral from your family practitioner or call us to arrange a consultation with one of our pain management physicians.