Herniated Disc Symptoms<br />righttopIf you believe that you are suffering from herniated disc symptoms, it is important t...
Numbness and tingling
Stiffness and/or soreness
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Herniated Disc Symptoms


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Herniated Disc Symptoms

  1. 1. Herniated Disc Symptoms<br />righttopIf you believe that you are suffering from herniated disc symptoms, it is important to visit a medical professional to receive an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your pain. Many of the symptoms commonly associated with a herniated disc, namely back pain, neck pain, and neuropathic symptoms, can also be explained by minor injury and a variety of other degenerative spine conditions. This is why a doctor must be the one to determine the root cause of your pain, as different causes will warrant different treatments. That said, in most instances, if a herniated disc is determined to be the source of your discomfort, a series of conservative, noninvasive treatments are typically effective in managing pain.<br />Degenerative Disc Disease<br />One of the unfortunate side effects of growing older is the anatomical components of the spine naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of years of wear and tear. In a healthy spine, the individual vertebrae that compose the spinal column are interconnected by vertebral facet joints and prevented from grinding against one another by spongy intervertebral discs. These discs are particularly important because they act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing for the flexibility we require from our back and neck while also being highly resilient.<br />In order to be effective, each disc has two main components. The first is a tough outer wall that gives the disc its durable quality. Known as the annulus fibrosus, the outer disc wall encapsulates the nuclear disc material and has enough give to absorb a significant amount of pressure and strain. The inner disc material is called the nucleus pulposus and it is responsible for providing the disc with its flexibility. Composed mostly of water and protein content, this material also gives the disc its height.<br />A herniated disc occurs when the annulus fibrosus becomes worn or a tear develops in the wall, allowing the nucleus pulposus to seep out of the disc and enter the spinal canal. This condition is quite common and can develop as a result of a traumatic injury to the spine, such as those incurred from a fall or car accident, or may develop more gradually as a result of the natural deterioration of the spine. When a disc becomes severely deteriorated as a result of regular wear and tear, the patient is said to have degenerative disc disease (DDD), a degenerative spine condition that describes undo deterioration of one or more intervertebral discs in the spine.<br />Finally, it should be mentioned that degenerative disc disease can develop at any level of the spine, but is most frequently experienced in the lower back (lumbar spine) and to a lesser extent in the neck (cervical spine). These two regions of the spine are the most burdened by body weight and are both extremely flexible, which tends to exacerbate or accelerate the degenerative process.<br />What Causes Symptoms?<br />Herniated disc symptoms may arise for a number of reasons. Localized pain near the site of the disc deterioration is normally a result of the tear in the disc wall affecting one of the small nerves that innervates the disc. Symptoms can also develop when the extruded disc material comes in contact with a nerve, nerve root, or the spinal cord. The spinal column is a highly innervated area that is responsible for facilitating the transfer of vital sensory and motor signals. When this free-flow of information is interrupted as a result of a herniated disc, the body may respond with a variety of symptoms depending on the specific nerve that is affected. Furthermore, the specific muscle groups that rely on the compressed nerve may be affected, causing symptoms to be experienced in areas far away from the spinal column.<br />lefttopSome of the more common herniated disc symptoms associated with this condition include:<br /><ul><li>Radiating pain (traveling pain)
  2. 2. Numbness and tingling
  3. 3. Stiffness and/or soreness
  4. 4. Muscle weakness
  5. 5. A feeling of heat or pins-and-needles
  6. 6. Diminished reflexes</li></ul>The area of the body that will be affected by the herniated disc symptoms depends on the location of the degenerated disc. For example, a herniated disc in the neck may affect the ulnar nerve, causing symptoms to be experienced in the shoulder, elbow, forearm, hands, and/or fingers. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine, on the other hand, might affect the sciatic nerve, which can lead to symptoms in the buttocks, thighs, knees, calves, feet, and/or toes. Knowing the exact location of the herniated disc is absolutely essential to managing the symptoms that it causes.<br />Treatment Options<br />If you are suffering from any herniated disc symptoms and the presence of degenerative disc disease has been identified, there are a number of treatment options available to you. However, it is always important to work closely with your doctor to ensure that the treatment that you are using offers you the best chance to overcome your pain. In most cases, a doctor will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that takes into consideration your health and age, the specific symptoms that you are experiencing, the cause of the herniated disc, and other pertinent variables. <br />In almost every case, treatment for a herniated disc will begin with a regimen of conservative, noninvasive techniques. These treatments are intended to manage the patient’s pain and facilitate the gradual healing of the intervertebral disc. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, hot/cold therapy, low-impact exercises, physical therapy, stretching exercises, and rest are all popular treatment options.<br />Many individuals also turn to alternative therapies either as a complement to or in lieu of more traditional medicine. Deep tissue massage, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, acupressure, aromatherapy, and other similar treatment styles are all frequently used to manage back and neck pain from a herniated disc.<br />When Surgical Decompression May Be Considered<br />The good news with herniated discs is that nonsurgical treatment is typically an effective means of managing the symptoms that arise as a result of the condition. However, for a select segment of the population, surgical decompression is occasionally warranted to physically remove the source of the patient’s pain. This course of treatment is almost always considered as a last resort for patients who have exhausted all of their other treatment options, but in limited circumstances it can be an effective option.<br />rightcenterThe basic goal of decompression surgery is simple: remove the source of the compression. This can be attempted several ways, with varying degrees of invasiveness. Spinal fusion, for example, entails the complete removal of the intervertebral disc and the permanent immobilization of the affected region of the spine. Alternatively, an endoscopic spine procedure is usually conducted on an outpatient basis and is minimally invasive by nature. During one of these procedures, the doctor carefully removes the herniated disc material, while leaving the disc itself intact. <br />Each of these surgical decompression procedures have their significant advantages and limitations, which is why if you are suffering from prolonged herniated disc symptoms and conservative treatment has failed to abate your symptoms, it pays to explore your options.<br />For more information on degenerative disc disease, its causes, symptoms, and treatments, speak with a spine specialist today.<br />