What is a herniated disc?
Intervertebral discs reduce the pressure between the vertebrae. A herniated disc is the process by which their nuclei protrude into the spinal canal. This is due to the destruction of the annulus fibrosus: it normally surrounds the disc and evenly distributes pressure. If it collapses on one side, then the nucleus of the intervertebral disc comes out.
The pain, in this case, occurs due to pinching of the nerve roots near the vertebra. And due to the connection of nerve pain with the spinal cord, it does not concentrate in the damaged area of the back, but can also go to the arm or leg.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
Our spine consists of five sections: cervical, lumbar, thoracic, sacral and coccygeal. A hernia can occur only in the upper three parts of the spine. Depending on its location, a herniated disc can be accompanied by various symptoms. It can develop anywhere in the spine. The following symptoms indicate a hernia:
- aching pain in the limbs, shoulders, or chest;
- decreased mobility of the spine;
- decreased sensitivity and weakness in the muscles in the legs or arms;
- neurological disorders: headaches, insomnia, changes in blood pressure, weakness, dizziness;
- disorders of the genitourinary system and intestines.
What exactly appears from the herniated disc symptoms depends on where the hernia is located.
Herniated disc causes
Degenerative processes of intervertebral discs, like many other diseases of the spine, are caused by our unnatural position of the skeleton. The main causes are:
- injuries of various kinds;
- bodyweight is above normal;
- unsuccessful sharp turn of the body to the side;
- work related to lifting weights (loaders, builders, etc.);
- spending a lot of hours at the computer daily;
- spending more than two hours a day driving.
The lumbosacral region is most susceptible to the process of destruction: the entire mass of a person presses on it from above.
Herniated disc diagnosis
Diseases of the spine, including herniated lumbar disc or cervical herniated disc, are dealt with by an orthopedist and neurologist. You can also meet with other specialists: the neurosurgeon will conduct the operation if it is necessary. And with conservative treatment, you will be referred to a physiotherapist, massage therapist, and exercise therapy specialist.
Herniated disc treatment
After the MRI diagnostics, the doctor will offer you one of the ways of how to fix a herniated disc. The doctor, depending on the condition of your spine and the degree of the disease, can recommend one of the types of treatment: conservative or surgical. Small protrusions in the intervertebral discs are treated conservatively.
The best treatment for herniated disc is physiotherapy: massage, electrophoresis, manual therapy. Physiotherapy exercises, as well as the prophylactic use of a corset and a bandage to restrict mobility, proved to be excellent.
If the therapy has not brought any improvement for several months, then an operation is performed at any stage of the disease. If the disease has not been started, then rehabilitation will not take long.