Disc Herniation & Ruptured Disc Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
A disc herniation (herniated disc) results when a damaged annular fibrosus (the outer fibrous bands of the spinal disc) scums to stresses of daily life, allowing the innermost jelly-like center of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) to rupture and herniate. Spinal disc herniations are concerning health issues because they can compress the spinal cord or spinal nerves and result in nerve or spinal cord dysfunction, damage, and degeneration.
Disc herniation & ruptured disc are interchangeable terms defining larger slipped discs that are not contained. Spinal disc herniations are the leading cause of weakness in the arms or legs and disability in individuals under 50. Spinal discs are resilient structures that can withstand the stresses of daily life, including sports and poor posture.
However, prolonged sitting and repeated injuries, coupled with poor posture, cause degenerative changes in the annular fibrous bands of the spinal discs, predisposing them to tears, bulges, and herniations. A herniated disc is a dangerous spinal condition even when the herniation is mild.
CSC’s disc herniation treatment is non-surgical and non-invasive. We have treated thousands of herniations in the neck and lower back with significant success. Let our experts provide you with the top 3 integrative methods of conservative care: chiropractic, physiotherapy, and NSD Therapy®.
What Is The Most Common Sign Of A Herniated Slipped Disc?
Patients with acute disc herniation may experience pain when laughing, coughing, or sneezing. The pain of sharp or intense severity when laughing, sneezing, and coughing are signs of torn and acutely inflamed disc herniations. Another common sign is pain in the neck or back with movements or changes in position. We have listed common signs of a herniated slip disc below:
- Sharp jabbing-like pain when coughing, sneezing, or laughing
- Pain when standing or sitting
- Neck and upper back pain when tilting the head and neck backward (extension of the neck)
What Is The Most Common Cause Of Herniated Discs In The Neck & Back?
Herniated discs are larger slipped discs that compress nerves or the spinal cord. Before a disc can herniate, it must first degenerate, bulge, or protrude. In other words, disc herniation is a late-stage slipped disc.
As with all slipped discs, degenerative disc disease and disc desiccation are the primary factors in the development of disc herniations. Spinal disc degenerations are desiccated discs that lose height, volume, and mass, rendering them weak and susceptible to tears, slippage, and herniations. Desiccated discs are dehydrated discs that have lost elasticity and fluid content. Neglected disc desiccation leads to spinal disc degeneration.
What Are The Most Common Site Of Spinal Disc Herniations?
The neck's most common disc to herniate is the C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7. The C5-C6 disc is the most injured and is the neck's primary site of disc herniation. The second and third most common segments are the C4-C5 followed by the C6-C7 disc. In the lower back, disc herniations are often found at L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1. The L4-L5 intervertebral disc is the most common herniated disc, followed closely by the L5-S1. L3-L4 disc herniations are associated chiefly with multi-level disc herniations of the lower back.
Can A Herniated Disc Be Reversed?
Disc herniations are reversible and treatable without injections or surgery through new methods of conservative care. Surgery and injections will not repair or reverse a herniated disc. In disc herniation surgeries, the surgeons cut away the herniated disc. Cutting the spinal disc or shaving the spine's bones is not a cure. These are patches that are not lasting and may need repeating.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to avoid surgery. According to a Harvard medical school physician, you should never get your herniated disc surgically treated, regardless of what your surgeon promises you. The best treatment for a herniated disc is a non-invasive method similar to NSD Therapy®; we have discussed NSD Therapy® and herniated disc treatment options in later sections of this article.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Disc Herniation
Symptoms of herniated slip discs depend on the location and severity of the herniation. Larger herniations are often more symptomatic. However, there are instances where patients with large herniations present with mild aches or pain in contrast to those with mild disc herniations that cause severe and excruciating aches and pain in the neck or back. Below is a list of symptoms often seen in patients with varying degrees of a herniated disc in the neck:
- Pain in the neck, chest, shoulders, arms, upper back, mid-back, lower back, buttocks, hips, thighs, legs, or feet.
- Tingling, numbness, or burning sensation in the neck, upper back, chest, arms, or legs, including hands, feet, fingers & toes.
- Weakness in the spine, arms, or legs.
- bowel and bladder interruption are somewhat common with large herniations
- Development of weakness and paralysis increase
- Problems with internal organs may develop due to the compression of the spinal cord and nerves that control them when the herniation is severe.
What Are The Possible Symptoms Of Cervical Disc Herniations (Herniated Disc In The Neck)?
Symptoms associated with a mild herniated disc in the neck include neck and upper back pain, which may radiate or run down to the chest or top of the shoulders at the traps (trapezius muscles). In addition, the patient may also report varying degrees of upper limb paresthesia (numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, or fingers).
A herniated disc is classified as a dangerous spine disorder because it progresses. In other words, mild herniations can quickly become moderate or severe. Herniated disc patients should seek precision slip-disc-specific treatment in the early stages.
The signs and symptoms of a moderately herniated disc in the neck can cause all the symptoms listed in the mild stage plus neurological issues. Neurological issues impair nerve function and may lead to weakness in the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Severe or large disc herniations are the most dangerous.
A severely herniated neck disc or sizeable cervical disc herniations is the leading cause of wrist and foot drops. Wrist drop results from damaged nerves that control wrist extension. Patients with wrist drops cannot lift the wrist; they may also have difficulty holding a pen, writing, or signing. If wrist drop is neglected, paralysis of part or entire arm can occur on one or both sides. Moreover, larger, more extensive, or severe disc herniations in the cervical spine (neck) can also lead to:
- Paralysis of the legs
- loos of bowls and balder control
- Reproductive organ dysfunction
- Organ failures if the spinal cord in the neck is compressed severely or obliterated.
List Of The Possible Symptoms For A Herniated Slip-Disc In The Lower Back (Lumbar & Lumbosacral Spine)?
A herniated lower back disc causes varying degrees of pain and paresthesia and the low back, buttocks, pelvis, and lower extremities (hips, thighs, calves, feet, and toes). The most common site for a low back herniation is at L3-L4, L4-L5, or the L5-S1 (the lumbosacral region).
A mildly herniated disc in the lower back causes pain and discomfort in the low back, pelvis region, or buttocks. Mild spinal disc herniations combined with degenerative disc diseases resulting in loss of disc height or facet arthritis can result in sciatica-like pain symptoms and paresthesia down one or both legs.
Moderate spinal disc herniations Wilcox similar symptoms as mentioned in mild herniation above but may also present with weakness in one or both legs. A large or severely herniated in ruptured intervertebral discs Is descriptive of a severe slip disc I said can cause weakness in both legs, foot drop, paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder function, dysfunction of the sexual and reproductive organs resulting from a cauda equina syndrome. A cauda equine syndrome is a life-altering condition resulting from severe compression of nerves that cuts off nerve function resulting in paralysis and organ failure.
How Is A Herniated Disc Diagnosed?
Patient history, symptomatology, orthopedic tests, and neurological assessments are the initial steps in assessing patients with a possible disc herniation. A working diagnosis of a possible herniation or rupture and a differential diagnosis can be assumed if signs, symptoms, and assessment findings indicate a disc herniation or a ruptured disc. A working diagnosis is simply that; it is a starting point that leads to the final diagnosis.
A working diagnosis is not sufficient and must be finalized. Therefore, the only means of diagnosing a herniated spinal disc is through magnetic resonance imaging, commonly referred to as an MRI. MRIs are the gold standard in diagnosing slipped discs, including bulging, herniation, extrusion, and fragmentation. It is impossible to diagnose any of the eight categories of slip discs, including the herniated disc, from an x-ray. Therefore, if you or your doctor suspects a slipped disc, you should demand an MRI assessment. Besides, x-rays expose you to radiation, while an MRI has no known side effects, making it the safest diagnostic imaging process for the spine and joints.
What Is The Best Treatment For A Herniated Or Ruptured Spinal Disk?
Herniated disc treatment differs among centers and clinics. The comprehensive nature of care and methodologies depends on the centers, therapists, and doctors treating you. It ranges from painkillers to injections or surgeries. Harvard medical school, MayoClinic, and the Cleveland Hospital recommend conservative measures for slipped discs, including bulging, extrusions, and herniated discs.
Dr. Steven Atlas, a Harvard medical school affiliate physician, is quoted on the Harvard medical school website: “Surgery may help control the pain in some cases so that you can function better, but it won't cure your pain — no matter what doctors may promise."
The most effective new conservative or non-surgical treatment program for slipped herniated discs is NSD Therapy®. NSD Therapy® is superior to chiropractic or physiotherapy. NSD Therapy® is an integrative system of physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and chiropractic combined with treatments provided by specialized physical and therapeutic modalities that help repair and retract spinal discs. Contact one of our treatment centers today to learn more about our slip-disc treatment of herniated discs that give you lasting relief from aches, pains, and disabilities without drugs, injections, or spine surgery.
Dr. Steven Atlas, a Harvard medical school affiliate physician, is quoted on the Harvard medical school website: “Surgery may help control the pain in some cases to function better, but it won't cure your pain — no matter what doctors may promise."
The most influential conservative or non-surgical treatment program for slipped herniated discs is NSD Therapy®. NSD Therapy® is superior to chiropractic or physiotherapy. NSD Therapy® is an integrative system of physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and chiropractic combined with treatments provided by specialized physical and therapeutic modalities that help repair and retract spinal discs. Contact one of our treatment centers today to learn more about our slip-disc treatment of herniated discs that give you lasting relief from aches, pains, and disabilities without drugs, injections, or spine surgery.