What is a herniated disc?
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc, you might be wondering what this means. You may also believe, erroneously, that you will need an operation. Let’s start by explaining what a herniated disc is exactly.
A herniated or slipped disc
A herniated disc is often called a slipped disc. A disc is actually a cushion between the vertebrae of your spine. Your discs have a soft centre with a tougher exterior. A herniated disc happens when the soft material pushes itself out from a tear in the exterior bones. When this happens, it can be painful because the nerves can become irritated and this can cause numbness, pain or weakness in one of your limbs.
If you are lucky you won’t have any unpleasant symptoms because of a herniated disc. Not everyone does.
Symptoms associated with a herniated disc
Some of the common symptoms associated with a herniated disc are the following: –
- Pain in a limb. When the herniated disc is in your lower back, as it so often is, you may experience pain in your buttock’s, calf and thigh. Sometimes you can experience pain in your foot too. If the slipped disc is in your neck, you will most probably have a painful arm and shoulder. The pain you have, if it is in your arm /and or shoulder, could shoot into a limb if you cough. This can also happen if you sneeze or inadvertently move your spine in a different position.
- Tingling sensation or numbness. This is cause by the nerves that are affected when you have a disc problem.
- Muscle weakness. Again, the nerves are affected, and they tend to weaken, as do the muscles they serve. You may stumble or drop things, depending on the severity of your problem.
It’s possible to have a disc problem without you being aware of it.
Some possible causes
- Worn discs may be the result of the ageing process. Spinal discs often lose some water as you age. They become less flexible and so they might tear or become sprained.
- You should take care when lifting heavy objects because you have used your back muscles to lift rather than your thigh and leg muscles.
- A blow to the back, or a heavy fall, can sometimes lead to a herniated disc, although these causes and not very common.
How to prevent disc problems?
- Exercise Exercising and so strengthening you lower back muscles can help you to avoid disc problems.
- Posture is important. Having good posture means that the pressure on your spine and discs decreases. Your back should be straight when you are sitting. Try one of our seat supports to help you.
- Lifting When you lift something heavy, use your leg muscles, not those of your back.
- Watch your weight. Try not to get overweight. If you do you will be putting undue pressure on your discs and spine.
You don’t need surgery. Instead, take a look at some of our products, all designed by Bogdan Luklinski, Spine Specialist, for the purpose of alleviating back pain. If you have any questions, please contact us for answers.