Between the vertebrae that make up our back are special cushions of rubbery cartilaginous material known as discs. Each of these discs serves a vital role, supporting and protecting the individual vertebrae from the stresses of day to day movement. Sharing a similarity to a jelly-filled doughnut, these discs are comprised of a firm and resilient exterior surrounding a softer inner material. A herniation of the disc occurs when the tougher exterior becomes compromised and a bubble of the softer interior material pushes through, don’t live with herniated disc pain, see your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV.
How Can A Herniated Disc Cause Pain?
Being part of the bodies protection for the central nervous system, these herniations can often put pressure on nearby nerve bundles, including the spinal cord itself. This kind of pressure can result in numbness, pain, or weakness in an arm or leg, though in some cases the herniation is actually asymptomatic, presenting no signs of being present. In most cases, surgery isn’t necessary to treat a herniated disc.
How Will I Know If I Have A Herniated Disc?
In most cases, the herniation will occur in the lower back due to the higher strains present in that portion of our back, though they can also occur in our neck or, very rarely, the upper back. If you’re experiencing any of the following you may have a herniated disc:
- Pain In the Arm Or Leg: In cases where the herniation is located in the lower region of the back the pain will most often be experienced in the calf, thigh, or buttocks. In the event that it is instead located in your neck, the pain will be strongest in the arm or shoulder, and may possibly become a shooting pain when coughing or sneezing.
- Tingling or Numbness: Pressure on the nerves often creates a feeling of numbness or tingling in the affected area.
- Weakness: Those limbs being impaired by the herniation can lose function, becoming weaker or unable to grasp or support your weight as well.
It’s possible to have a herniated disc without being aware of it, and it will only become apparent as part of an x-ray in those showing no symptoms.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
Typically herniation is the result of the simple processes of aging, with wear and tear resulting in disc degeneration. These discs start to dehydrate as we age, affecting their flexibility and resilience, losing flexibility and becoming more likely to tear or rupture with minor twists or strains. Typically the exact cause of a herniated disc can’t be determined, though improper body mechanics have been indicated as a possible cause. In some cases, herniation can be tied to a traumatic event.
Additionally, the following conditions can put you at risk:
- Obesity: Unhealthy weight puts additional strain on the discs in the lower back.
- Occupational Strain: For those with physically demanding jobs, herniation may be caused by strain.
- Heredity: A tendency to herniated discs has been shown to be congenital.
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or have other reason to believe that you may be suffering from a herniated disc, contact your physician immediately. A consultation and examination will determine if a treatment plan is appropriate or necessary for your condition, and aid you in preventing it from becoming more advanced. Call Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin at the Khavkin Clinic today for an appointment to help treat or end your pain associated with herniated discs.