Itâ€™s a problem associated with one of the disks located between the vertebrae that are stacked together to make the spine. This spinal disk is like a rubbery cushion which is encased in a tough exterior, while the center of the disk is soft.
A herniated disk is also termed as a ruptured or slipped disk. It is known to occur when some of the soft jelly in the center of the disk squeezes outward through a tear in the exterior. Though it occurs usually in the lumbar spine, some people can have a herniated disk in the cervical spine.
The condition can be identified through some signs and symptoms such as:
If you have herniated disk in the lumbar spine, then you are likely to feel intense pain in the lower body region such as your hips, thigh and calf; and sometimes even the foot. However, if the condition affects the cervical region, then youâ€™re likely to experience severe pain in the arm or your shoulder.
The pain shoots in the leg or arm when you move into certain positions, cough or sneeze.
You may also experience a tingling sensation or numbness in the leg or arm.
Muscles that are served by the nerves affected by herniated disk may feel weaken thereby increasing your risk of fall. And it may also impair your lifting and holding ability.
Herniated disk is mostly associated with disk degeneration. It occurs due to age related wear & tear which happens because the water content in the spinal disk lowers with age. This makes the disks less flexible and at a higher risk of rupturing and tearing.
Other causes include traumatic events like a blow to the back or a fall on the back. Disk herniation in some people may also occur because of lifting heavy objects.
Patients with herniated disk are advised physical therapy for pain reduction. In some cases surgery may be needed, but thatâ€™s very rare. It is usually advised when conservative treatments like therapy fail to improve the symptoms.