What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc describes an issue with one of the rubber-like cushions (discs) between the vertebrae, or individual bones, that neatly stack to make what’s called your spine.
A spinal disc is like a jelly-filled doughnut, meaning it has a soft center enclosed by a tougher outside. Sometimes referred to as ruptured disc or a slipped disc by lower back pain doctors, a herniated disc typically happens when the soft jelly inside squeezes out through a tiny crack in the tougher outside. This condition can disturb other nerves nearby and lead to pain, weakness or numbness in the leg or arm. A good number of people do not experience any symptoms at all and might be unaware there is a problem.
Generally, the Pain From a Slipped Disc Occurs Only on One Side of the Patient’s Body.
- You may experience pain when trying to move your neck, intense pain over or near your shoulder blade, or pain that travels to your upper arm, fingers, and forearm if you have a slipped disc in your neck. Some people experience numbness in their fingers, forearm, elbow, and along the shoulder.
- You may experience acute pain in one area of the leg, buttocks, or hip as well as numbness in other areas if you’re suffering from a ruptured disc in the lower back.
The pain usually starts out slow, but may progress and get worse:
- When walking just a few yards
- When bending backwards
- At night
- When laughing, coughing, or sneezing
- After sitting or standing
In the case of a herniated disc, you could also experience weakness in some muscles. At times, you may notice you’re having a difficult time lifting your arm or leg, tightly squeezing one of your hands, trying to stand on your toes on just one side, or other issues.
According to lower back pain doctors, disc herniation is usually the result of progressive, age-related wear and tear on the spine known as disc degeneration. As a person ages, the discs in the spine start to lose their water content, which makes them less flexible and more prone to rupturing or tearing with the slightest twist or strain.
Most individuals have a hard time identifying the exact cause of their slipped disc. Many times, using the back muscles rather than the thigh and leg muscles to lift heavy items can often lead to a slipped disc, as well as turning or twisting while lifting. A traumatic event like a blow to the back or a fall may also cause a ruptured disc, although it’s quite rare.
V. K. Puppala, M.D. serves patients at his pain and spine clinics throughout the Metro Atlanta area. As the premiere lower back pain doctor, he treats all his patients with great compassion, empathy and respect because he is genuinely interested in their overall well-being. Dr. Puppala uses a variety of minimally invasive interventional techniques with proper medication management and functional treatment to provide effective treatments for lower back injury. Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to set up an appointment at his practice in Villa Rica, Georgia.