What Is a Herniated Disc?
A human’s spinal cord consists of several bones that are cushioned by circular discs. These discs have a tough outer layer, called annulus, and work as shock absorbers for the spinal cord.
Disc herniation refers to the dislocation of the nucleus through the annulus, into the posterolateral region of the spine, known as the spinal canal. This region has a limited space which cannot hold the herniated disc fragment and the spinal nerve roots at the same time. This displacement causes compression of the nerves that lead to severe pain.
Disc herniation can occur anywhere in the spinal cord. However, a herniated disc in the lower back (lumbar spine), and the neck (cervical spine) are the two most commonly diagnosed abnormalities of the spine.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Symptoms of spinal disc herniation depend on the location and size of the disc. If the disc isn’t compressing or irritating the nerve, it will only cause little to none pain in the back.
On the other hand, if the nerve is constrained, the patient may experience extreme pain, weakness, and fatigue in those parts of the body.
Here, we’ve rounded off the three most common signs and symptoms of disc herniation.
Pain in the Leg or Arm
If you have a lumbar disc herniation (disc herniation in the lower back), you are most likely to feel intense pain in your hips, upper thighs, your calves; in some cases, some part of your foot too.
If the disc herniation is in your cervical spine (neck), you are likely to feel excruciating pain in your arm and shoulder. This pain can often aggravate and travel to your arms and legs when you sneeze, cough or move your back in certain positions.
If you have a herniated disc, you may have a tingling or a numb feeling in certain parts of your body where the spinal nerves are compressed by the herniated discs.
Weakness and Fatigue
The pressure exerted on the affected nerves by the disc can make your muscles weak. This can result in difficulty in walking or while lifting items.
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