Herniated discs are a common cause of back pain. In some instances, the condition might be present but the person does not feel discomfort. Over time, changes can lead to feelings of numbness, weakness, or pain.
What Are Herniated Discs?
Individual bones called vertebrae are stacked up to create your spine. There are discs between each of the vertebrae. These discs are actually like rubbery cushions between each of the stacked bones.
When one of these discs herniates, the tissue in the center gets pushed out. This tissue is called the nucleus. While the disc does not really slip out of place, pressure on the disk can force out a fragment of the nucleus. As a result, the outer layer of the injured disk ruptures.
When Does it Become Painful?
If this fragment does not get in the way of your spinal nerves, you might feel little or no pain. But if it moves to the spinal canal where it presses against the nerves, it can lead to feelings of pain and numbness. If the disc is located in your lower back, you might also get weakness in your lower back, foot, or leg. If it is in your neck, it could have an impact on your hand, arm, or shoulder. The numbness and pain caused by herniated discs might make it difficult to hold or lift items and could cause you to stumble.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
Often herniated discs are a part of the aging process due to disc degeneration. Over time, the discs lose water content, which makes them less flexible. As a result, they are more likely to get strained. It may not always be possible to determine the exact cause of herniated discs. For some, it can be caused by heavy lifting or a traumatic injury or blow.
If you start to get pain in your neck or back that goes to your leg or arm, or if you have weakness, numbness, or tingling, it is time to get immediate medical attention. Often surgery is not required and the doctor can find ways to relieve your discomfort.
If you are having back pain or difficulty performing routine tasks, it is time to get help from medical professionals who can give you the relief you need. Contact Interventional Pain Management to learn more about herniated discs and what you can do about them so you can return to doing the things you want.