A herniated or “slipped” disc is a common spine injury that occurs when the jelly-like substance inside the intervertebral discs is forced outward, either creating a bulge in the disc’s membrane or leaking out through a tear in the membrane. The movement of the jelly-like substance places pressure on nearby nerves, which can cause pain and discomfort. This movement is usually a result of natural aging. As you get older, the water content of your spinal discs may decrease. The lack of water makes them not as flexible as they used to be, bringing a higher chance of tearing or breaking the membrane with an inconspicuous twist. Your weight, daily occupation (such as construction work), and genetics all may play a factor in the risk of experiencing a disc herniation.
Common symptoms of a herniated disc included a numbness or weakness in the arm or leg. At the same time, many people don’t experience noticeable symptoms from this condition. People with a herniated disc may not need surgery to correct it. Herniated discs may also be referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a “bulging disc” depending on the circumstances. There are two areas of the spine that can experience a herniated disc: the lumbar spine (lower back) and cervical spine (neck).
There are a number of treatments available for a herniated disc. Medication can help if you determine the pain to range from mild to moderate. Physical therapy may be suggested if the pain has not gone away after several weeks. If nothing else works, surgery may turn out to be the best options, especially for more serious symptoms that make it difficult to walk or stand, or a loss of bowel control.
- Pain isolated to one side of the body
- Pain that gets worse after standing or sitting
- Muscle weakness
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Laser spine surgery
If you believe a herniated disc with your daily tasks, contact a local spine expert to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. If you are in the New Jersey area, Doctor Marc Cohen is a recognized expert in the field of spine surgery. Schedule an appointment with us today at one of our locations.