Between the vertebrae of your spine are soft discs. They let your spine twist and bend. They absorb shocks. But if damaged, the disc’s soft center can push through the disc wall. That’s a herniated disc. This bulge presses against nerves in your spine.
Causes & Triggers
A herniated disc can be caused by the normal wear and tear of aging. As you age, your spinal discs become less flexible and more prone to cracks and tears. Herniated discs are also caused by traumatic injury. And, they can also happen if you lift something heavy.
- Age-related wear and tear
- Repetitive, spine-stressing activity (especially lifting, bending, twisting)
- Smoking, excess weight and sedentary lifestyle
- Sudden injury
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms depend on how bad the herniation is and at what level of your spine it has happened. Most happen in the lumbar spine. This can cause pain, numbness, weakness and tingling. You may feel these in your buttocks, leg or foot. A herniation in your cervical spine can cause problems in your neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
- Pain (especially in back, leg, foot)
Tips & Treatment
Treatment depends on your injury. You may benefit from rest, medications, injections and physical therapy. If these don’t help, you may need surgery. Your doctor will create a care plan that’s right for you.
- This condition is most common in men between the ages of 30 and 50.
- For this condition, staying active may prove more beneficial than bed rest.
- Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, hot or cold packs, back or neck massage, back and abdominal exercises, and/or steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Surgical intervention may be necessary if non-surgical therapies do not resolve pain issues.