BPS 1: Herniated Disc Pain — Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment…

A herniated disc is one of the common causes of neck and back pains. The term refers to issues with the spinal disc. Different terms may be used to refer to a herniated disk such as a bulging disc, pinched nerve, ruptured disc, slipped disc, and disc protrusion.

So, how does a herniated disc occur? How is the condition diagnosed? What treatment options are available? The answers to these questions will be a focus of this topic.

What is a Herniated Disc Pain?

A herniated disc pain occurs when inflammatory proteins leak out from the inner core of the spinal disk. The condition usually occurs in the lower back (the lumbar spine) and the neck (the cervical spine). Disc pain is most common in the lower back where the spine bears most of the weight. The condition rarely happens in the mid-back (the thoracic spine).

The two common reasons for a herniated disk pain.

  • Degeneration of the Spinal Disk — One reason for the disk pain is degeneration of the spinal disk. The spinal disk degenerates to a point where it causes instability and pain in the spinal area. This is known as degenerative disk disease. The pain in this case is chronic and centered around the disc. The person may occasionally feel acute pain due to a herniated disc.
  • Pinched Nerve — A herniated disk pain also occur when the nerve is pinched, inflamed, or irritated. Also known as radicular pain, the nerve root pain involves a shooting pain. The pain seems to radiate to other body parts such as from the neck down to the arm or the lower back down the leg. The medical term for the leg pain is sciatica.

Diagnosis of a Herniated Disk

A range of methods can confirm herniated disc as the source of pain. The diagnosis begins with a review of the symptoms. The review of the symptoms includes the following.

  • -Location of the pain – back, neck, leg, or arm
  • -Description of the pain – sharp, searing, achy, dull, or stabbing
  • -Activities or positions that make the pain worse
  • -Activities or positions that provide pain relief

Next, the medical history of the patient is reviewed. The review is carried out to rule out any possible conditions of the pain. This includes an examination of previous diagnosis, health problems, and past treatments. Information on sleep, work, and exercise habits are also analyzed.

The doctor then begins a physical exam to confirm or rule out a diagnosis made after a review of symptoms and medical history. The physical tests for the herniated disc pain include one or more of the following.

  • -Palpation
  • -Movement tests.
  • -Muscle strength.
  • -Reflex test

Also, diagnostic tests are performed to gain additional information regarding the impinged nerve roots or herniated disk. The diagnostic tests include CT scan, MRI scan, discogram, and myelography.

Herniated Disc Treatment

Treatment of a herniated disc depends on the severity of the condition. Some of the treatment options that a doctor may recommend include muscle-relaxant medications, physical therapy, anti-inflammation medications, epidural injections (cortisone injection), and sometimes surgical operations.

The treatment option is customized according to the individual’s specific situation. It depends on the condition of the spine around the affected area of the patient. During the treatment of a herniated disc, the patient is advised to rest and take precautions to avoid reinjuring the disc.

 

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.