A herniated disc is usually painful (unless you are one of the lucky ones to suffer from this condition without any symptoms.) A herniated disc is a condition that means one of the discs in the spine has been damaged, and the soft inner material of the disc is leaking out and pressing on the surrounding nerves. Pressure on the nerves causes irritation, which causes pain. Herniated discs are common in the lower back and may also affect the neck. Here are 14 things to know about herniated discs.
Symptoms and Signs
- Most herniated discs are painful, although you can have a herniated disc and feel no pain at all.
- When there is pain, it is commonly felt in the arm or the leg, depending on where the herniated disc is located (neck or lower back.)
- If you have a herniated disc in your lower back you may feel pain in the buttocks, thigh calf and foot.
- A herniated disc in the neck produces shoulder and arm pain.
- You may also experience numbness or tingling in the affected areas.
- Some people find it difficult to walk or lift objects when suffering a herniated disc.
- Aging causes disc problems as your spinal discs lose water content and become less flexible.
- Disc damage occurs when you lift a heavy object and put strain on the lower back or neck, turn your body sharply, twist as you lift, or suffer a blow to the back or neck.
- Being overweight or obese increases your chances of suffering a herniated disc.
- Some people have a genetic tendency towards disc damage and herniated discs.
- If you are suffering from pain due to a herniated disc you can receive treatment so you can live a more comfortable life – see a pain management specialist or physical therapist in order to devise a treatment plan for your particular needs.
- Physical therapy may use controlled exercises, heat and ice treatments, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to treat the painful herniated disc.
- You can help your recovery by avoiding problematic activities that worsen pain and by lowering your stress levels to prevent muscle tension.
- Gentle exercise combined with rest helps treat herniated discs.