Herniated discs are a common cause of back pain and related symptoms for men and women of all ages, but they’re especially common for people between 35 and 55 years of age. Knowing the symptoms associated with a herniated disc can help you get the treatment you need so you can start feeling better fast. At DMC Healthcare, we offer patient-centered care for back pain, including special treatment options designed specifically to relieve the symptoms of herniated discs. Here’s what you need to know about herniated discs and what symptoms you should be looking for.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc is a disc that’s “bulged out” from its normal position in your spine. Your spine is composed of a series of bones or vertebrae, each separated from the other by a spongy disc. These discs help cushion your vertebrae and the nerves that travel through your spine, protecting your spine from damage that could be caused by jolts or other impacts. Discs also help your spine move and stay flexible.
In a healthy back, your discs stay within the boundaries of your vertebrae. But sometimes, a disc can “slip” and extend beyond the edge of your bones. A herniated disc can press on nerves as they exit your spine and travel to other areas of your body, causing symptoms in your back and anywhere along the path of those nerves.
Pretty much anyone can develop a herniated disc, but they tend to occur more often in people who:
- are obese
- are pregnant
- lead sedentary lifestyles
- do a lot of bending and lifting
- spend long periods of time standing
- have age-related changes in the spine
- have experienced a traumatic injury, like a fall or auto accident
Sometimes, herniated discs are referred to as "slipped" discs or prolapsed discs.
Herniated disc symptoms
Most herniated discs occur in the lower back (called the lumbar spine) or the neck portion of your spine (the cervical spine). The most common symptoms associated with herniated discs include:
- pain or aching in your back or neck, near the slipped disc
- shock-like pain or dull aching along the nerve pathway, specifically in the buttocks or legs or along the arm (depending on where the herniated disc is located)
- numbness along the nerve pathway
- weakness or problems with muscle coordination in the leg, arm, or hand
- loss of bowel or bladder control in severe cases
While some types of back pain may feel better with rest, with a herniated disc, lying down or sitting can actually exacerbate symptoms in many people. What's more, the symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on your position or the activity you're engaged in.
Treatment for herniated discs
At DMC Healthcare, Dr. Weddle provides custom treatment plans that focus on coaxing the disc back into its normal position so painful symptoms are relieved. Depending on your needs, your treatment plan may include:
- spinal adjustments and decompression to relieve nerve compression in the area of the slipped disc
- physical therapy and exercise to reduce inflammation and irritation around the nerve while improving flexibility and strength
- lifestyle changes and medical guidance to help you keep your back stay healthy so you can avoid herniated discs in the future
Before treatment begins, Dr. Weddle will perform a thorough evaluation of your back and review your medical history and symptoms to ensure the treatment plan he develops will help you find rapid and long-lasting relief.
Get relief for your painful symptoms
Back pain, leg pain, and other herniated disc symptoms can take a major toll on your comfort and your quality of life. At DMC Healthcare, Dr. Weddle will work with you to provide customized care that’s focused on eliminating herniated disc symptoms so you can feel better fast. If you’re suffering from symptoms of a herniated disc, let us help you get the treatment you need to start feeling better. Visit our site and book an appointment online today.