Herniated Disc Problems

Back Surgery Information

Herniated Disc Problems

A herniated disc is quite commonly known as a slipped disk even though this term is not quite correct. This is because the spinal discs cannot actually slip, rather the center part of the discs, referred to as the nucleus pulposus, bulges out of place. This bulging out is caused by a tear in the fibrous ring on the disc. The tear in the fibrous ring, which is called the annulus fibrosus, may be caused by injury to the spine, medical condition such as spinal stenosis or the normal wear and tear associated with the aging process.

Herniated disc problems become quite apparent due to the pain an individual may experience. Pain occurs due to the fact that the bulging nucleus is pressing on the nerves nearby. This pain can sometimes be debilitating and require immediate medical attention. However, in most cases the disc can heal itself when given proper rest and none invasive treatments. Sometimes, the pain may be coming from the damaged disc itself and not from a pinched nerve.

Herniated disc problems can happen anywhere along the spine. However, the most common location is the lower back. A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of lower back pain.

When a disc is herniated in the lumbar or lower back region, pain may be experienced in the legs. This pain is referred to as sciatica because more often than not the nerves involved lead to the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Individuals with herniated lumbar discs may also experience tingling, a burning sensation or numbness from the buttocks down to the leg and even to the foot.

These herniated disc problems related to the lumbar region will only be experienced on one side of the body, left or right and not on both sides at the same time.

The neck is also another area where herniated disc problems may be experienced. The neck area is referred to as the cervical spine and pain will most often be felt between the shoulder blades, down the arm and hand and may also be felt in the fingers. Neck pain may also be experienced. There may also be numbness or tingling felt in these areas.

Research has suggested that some people may be more prone to herniated disc problems due to their family history. This is because studies have shown that it is not uncommon to find several members of one family with back problems. In these cases, herniated discs may occur in several locations along the spine.

It is vital to consult a physician if you suspect that you are suffering from herniated disc problems. If left untreated, the disc may be damaged further and this damage may be irreversible. Herniated disc problems may also lead to cauda equine syndrome which causes numbness in the groin area, bladder or bowel problems and weakness in both legs. In this cases your doctor will probably suggest surgery to solve the problem.