Your spine is composed of vertebral bones and discs, soft cushions that separate each bone and allow the spine to move properly. Unfortunately, these discs can become weakened over time, putting pressure on the spinal nerves. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of a herniated disc and for more information on when to visit a back specialist.
As we age, the discs in our spine weaken and lose their ability to cushion the spinal bones. In some cases, the disc itself is weakened, resulting in a tear that allows a portion of the disc to press against the nearby nerves. A herniated disc may also be caused by injury to the spine that cracks the outer layer of the disc; this allows the material within the disc to leak out, causing the disc to bulge or break into fragments.
Several factors may increase your risk for a herniated disc. Heavy strain, sudden twisting motions, and a sudden increase in pressure to the lower back can all lead to a herniated disc. Repeated actions that put stress on the lower back may also increase your chances for a disc herniation. This includes poor lifting habits, sports-related injuries, and prolonged exposure to vibration.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of a herniated disc may vary depending on the position and size of the herniation. Herniated discs that do not press on the nerve may result in low back pain, whereas discs that press on the nerves may lead to pain, numbness, or weakness. Additional symptoms of a herniated disc may include:
- Sciatica or pain that travels through the buttocks and down into a leg, ankle, or foot
- Pain in the front of the thigh
- Pain or numbness in the shoulders, arms, or chest
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
- Muscle pain and spasms
Here at SpineOne, our back specialists can treat a number of the underlying causes of back pain, including herniated discs, sciatica, and other spinal disorders. Get relief from your back and neck pain by contacting us at (303) 367-2225.