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A herniated disc causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain and numbness in the back and radiate pain down the legs. A herniated disc in the cervical spine can cause numbness in that area and radiate pain into the arms.
A disc is herniated, when the soft part of the disc bulges through the circle of connective tissue. This prolapsed may push on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots.
A disc has two parts, inner (center) and outer. The center of the disc is called the nucleus; it is soft, springy and receives the shock of standing, walking, running, etc. The outer ring of the disc, called the annulus, provides structure and strength to the disc. The annulus consists of a complex series of interwoven layers of fibrous tissue that hold the nucleus in place. When a disc herniation occurs, the cushion that sits between the spinal vertebras is pushed outside its normal position. A herniated disc is frequently referred to as a slipped disc. This term came from the action of the nuclear tissue when it is forced from the center of the disc. The nuclear tissue located in the center of the disc can be located under so much pressure that it can cause the annulus to break. When the disc has herniated or ruptured, it may create pressure against one or more of the spinal nerves which can cause pain, weakness or numbness in the neck, arms, back and legs.
To determine whether you have a herniated disc, the doctor reviews your medical history and performs some physical examination. Sometimes the doctor will do an MRI or a CT scan to confirm a herniated disc.
Herniated disc usually get better in a few weeks or months. Take rest if you have severe pain. Otherwise stay active and do light works. Initially, cold packs can be used to relieve pain and inflammation; after a few days, you may try gentle heat to give relief and comfort. Do the exercises suggested by your doctor or physical therapist. Ask your doctor for medicine. Medicine won't cure a herniated disc, but it may help your pain and swelling. If all non surgical treatments are failed then it is time for surgical treatment. A common surgery for a herniated disk is a microdiskectomy. This surgery is associated to standard or open diskectomy, in this surgery some spinal bones are cutting away to access the herniated disks and compressed nerve roots. Small instruments are used to remove the herniated portion of the disk and other disk tissue and fragments, relieving pressure on the nerve.
Let the Gulf Coast Injury Center medical team help you today!