A herniated disc, which is also called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, is a spinal disc in which some of the soft nucleus has pushed through a crack in the harder annulus or exterior. If the slipped disc presses against a nerve, it can cause pain and other problems.
What Are the Symptoms of a Slipped Disc?
Some people don’t show any symptoms. In others, the symptoms can vary somewhat depending on the location of the slipped disc. Herniated discs most commonly occur in the cervical area (neck) or the lumbar region (lower back). The symptoms of a slipped disc usually include the following:
• Pain – Patients with a slipped disc in their lower back tend to feel intense pain in their buttocks, thigh and calf. They may also have pain in their foot. If the herniated disc is in the neck, the pain is most intense around the shoulder and arm. Some patients may also experience shooting pain in their arms or legs if they sneeze, cough or move their spine into given positions.
• Weakness in muscles controlled by the affected nerve – The patient may therefore have trouble walking or lifting or holding items.
• Numbness or tingling in the body part governed by the affected nerves.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
The most common cause of a herniated disc is disc degeneration, which is simply wear and tear on the disc at least partly caused by aging. As people get older, their spinal discs lose some of their water and become less flexible. The exterior of the disc can also develop small tears or cracks. That, coupled with the loss of flexibility, makes the disc more susceptible to rupturing even in the event of a relatively minor twist or sprain. The gel in the disc gets forced out through the cracks and then makes the disc break open.
Most patients can’t say what exactly caused their herniated disc. In some cases, the patient used their back muscles instead of the leg muscles to lift something heavy. Twisting and turning while lifting something heavy can also cause a herniated disc. Occasionally, a back injury caused by a fall or a blow can lead to a herniated disc.
Who Is Most Likely to Develop a Slipped Disc?
Older men with a history of back trouble are most likely to develop herniated discs. People who smoke are also prone to herniated discs for nicotine and other chemicals prevent spinal discs from absorbing nutrients from the bloodstream. Smoking also heightens sensitivity to pain. People with physically demanding jobs that involve a lot of lifting and carrying are at risk for developing slipped discs and other back problems. This is especially true if the job requires a lot of repetitive pulling, pushing, bending sideways, twisting or lifting. Being overweight increases the stress on the discs in the lower back and thus increases the chances of a herniated disc. A susceptibility to developing herniated discs also runs in some families.
Schedule Your Chiropractic Appointment Today
At Apponaug Chiropractic Center in Warwick, we are here to help you every step of the way in treating your herniated disc. During your consultation with us, we can evaluate your unique situation and come up with an individualized treatment plan that is best for you. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.