The bone structure that makes up the back and neck spinal structure is cushioned with the use of small discs. The discs are flat and round, with a strong outer layer made of fibrosis, also known as the annulus fibrosis.
The soft jelly-like structure is placed in the center, known as the nucleus pulposus, surrounded by the annulus. In the spinal column, between each vertebra, discs are located, and the main function of these discs is to bear the shock and provide flexibility to the bones in your spinal cord.
Because of excessive trauma and strain, the annulus fibers can get weak and tear down over time, leaving the nucleus exposed to injuries. A herniated disc is the term that is used to explain a fragment of the wounded nucleus pushing out into the spinal canal via a rupture or tear in the annulus. The canal has a little space, which further reduces the nerve’s size and the fragment of the displaced disc. Because of this displacement, the disc pushes on the other surrounding nerves, often causing pain that may be extreme.
Depending on the degree of displacement of the nucleus close to the outer annulus, there are 4 stages of disc herniation.
The symptoms of a herniated disc may differ depending on where the issue is in your spine. The symptoms may get better when you take proper rest and get worse with every movement.
The symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck include:
It is very regular for people to face problems in the lower back section. The pain of herniated discs in the lower back region can also cause sciatic nerve issues. This excruciating pain usually goes down one side of your hip into your leg and even on your foot. Some other symptoms of a herniated disc in the back include:
The four-disc herniation stages include disc compression, bulging disc, disc protrusion, and herniated disc.
Putting extreme and repetitive strain, degenerative changes, and trauma can squash or compress the disc in your spinal cord, which becomes the reason behind the tearing of annular fibers that keep the disc in its place. The nucleus or the jelly-like center of the disc is irritated, but it still stays contained within the structure of the disc.
Constant strain and loading on this body part lead the nucleus to shove the annular fibers more into a bulge, leading to inflammation that can aggravate the spinal nerves. The nucleus is still inside the annulus at this stage, but that is only because the outermost fibers are keeping it inside.
The soft and jelly-like substance containing the nucleus breakouts from the structure in-between the large tears in the annulus fibers, but is still attached, occurs the disc protruding and pushing on the exiting spinal nerve, which in several cases leads to an increase in pain and further symptoms such as raised numbness, tingling, or burning sensations.
In a sequestrated or herniated disc, pieces from both the nucleus and annulus have shattered through the posterior longitudinal ligament into the epidural space. The pieces of both are now in the external part of the segment, squeezing most of the spinal nerve. This is the most dangerous stage where the pain levels are extreme and surgical intervention may be necessary.
The leading cause of sciatica, i.e., pain in the back and leg region or arm and neck regions, is because of herniated discs. Every year, there is a rise in the number of people affected by a herniated disc. The number goes as high as 2% every year. A herniated disc can happen almost anywhere along the spinal cord, but the most common where herniated discs occur is in the neck or lower back areas. It is rare to see cases where a person suffers from a herniated disc in the mid-back area.
Individuals between the ages of thirty to fifty years are most likely to face a herniated disc problem. The problem is more common in men in comparison to females. Nearly men face this problem twice compared to women. Other factors that can lead to herniated discs are:
At first, you can start the treatment at home, but you should go and schedule an appointment if you are feeling extreme pain and it is obstructing your life. Or
At Realign Spine, we provide our patients with the best possible treatment for a herniated disc. Some of the best-slipped disc treatments include medication, physical therapy, spinal injections, and surgery. Our chiropractors are experts in treating patients only using physical therapy. Physical therapy teaches the patients how to maintain their posture and helps them relieve pressure, loosens tight muscles, and improves blood circulation.