Symptoms, Causes, and General Information
Disc Herniations are a condition in which one or more of the discs that lies between two spinal vertebrae has become damaged. The disc being damaged results in a loss of fluid which limits the capability of the disc to act as a cushion and absorb shock as it is intended to do. It can occur suddenly if the patient has suffered an injury, or gradually over time as part of the degenerative process. A bulging or damaged disc can often put immense pressure on the nerve roots of the spine causing pain or numbness in the neck, lower back upper or lower extremities or the hips.
Typically there are two forms of disc herniations:
1. Cervical Disc Herniation: often referred to as a slipped disc, means that a disc between one of the 7 vertebra along the neck has been damaged.
2. Lumbar Disc Herniation: A lumbar disc herniation, often referred to as a slipped disc, means that a disc toward the bottom of the spine (L1 – S1) has been damaged.
Disc Herniation Causes:
• Damage stemming from an injury- Herniated discs can occur when sudden traumatic forces are placed on the spine. These often include sudden overexertion, falls or repetitive strain injuries.
• Natural wear and tear- As a result of the aging process, the disc will often undergo a natural degeneration (See Degenerative Disc Disease). It will lose some of the fluid over time resulting in the loss of flexibility and structure of the disc.
• Repetitive Strain- Disc herniations are prevalent in those with jobs that require large amounts of twisting, bending or lifting of heavy objects.
Cervical Disc Herniation symptoms would include:
• Neck pain
• Weakness in the upper arm or shoulder area
• Numbness and/tingling sensation in fingers/wrist
• Having trouble gripping with hand
• Difficulty rotating neck
• The type of pain varies from dull to sharp
Lumbar Disc Herniation symptoms would include:
• Lower back pain
• Sciatica (pain that radiates through the leg)
• Numbness or pain in the foot
• Numbness or pain in ankle
• Unable to stretch or extend toes
• Unable to push off with foot