What are the signs of a Disc Herniation?
Herniated discs can cause a variety of different symptoms, and these can vary depending on where the disc herniation is.
Herniated Discs in the neck:
Herniated discs in the neck are less common than in the lower back because there is less disc material and much less compression force. This being said you can increase the pressure on your cervical spine (neck) when you’re hunched over in poor postures, like looking at your phone. But ultimately, it’s your lumbar spine (lower back) that absorbs the majority of the force when you sitting l, or even more so when you are bent over, or you twist awkwardly.
Symptoms of disc herniation in the neck differ based on the degree of herniation and the specific vertebral level. For example, disc herniation in the neck will often involve some nerve compression or impingement, which can then portray various symptoms. The vertebral column within the neck runs from C1 at the base of the skull down to C7 where it joins the shoulders/1st rib. Nerve compression or impingement at the C4 or C5 disc level can Often contribute to local pain, shoulder pain or muscle weakness in the upper arms, while impingement or compression at the C6 – C7 can cause radiating pain down the arm and he is often associated with numbness in your fingers, weakened grip strength. The lower regions of the neck are more prone to disc prolapse, due to having to withstand more compressive forces and pivotal forces.
Herniated Discs in the Lumbar Spine
The most common type of herniated disc is one that develops in the lower back (lumbar spine). this is because it deals with a great amount of compressive forces. A disc herniated in the lower part of your spine generally affects your lower body extremities.
in the lumbar spine the vegetable segments run from L1 – L5. A herniated disc at L4 – L5 will typically involves nerve root impingement of the nerves that radiate down your leg, meaning you may experience localised lower back pain or buttock pain, altered sensation/pins and needles in the leg or foot, leg weakness, poor mobility or movement, pain that radiates down your leg, especially with bending forward or sitting for long periods. A disc herniation in the lower back that causes radicular pain down the legs is often referred to as sciatica which is an umbrella term for a number of different conditions/causes. This is also often associated with numbness in your feet and toes.
A more serious problem associated with a herniated disc in the lumbar spine includes bladder problems, like the inability to hold or release urine. If these symptoms may arise, you should seek emergency care, immediately. likewise, a more serious case of a disc herniation in the neck may involve symptoms that include loss of balance and coordination of limbs.
Treating Herniated Discs
The majority of disc herniations will fortunately heal with the correct advice and Conservative management, without the need for invasive surgery, but it is always of crucial importance to see a specialist, if symptoms don’t resolve. here at Dynamic Osteopaths we will take a case history, along with conducting a physical examination to diagnose the location of the herniation and set you up with a specific care plan. Common conservative treatments may include:
Brief use of pain medication
Physical rehabilitation therapy
Fortunately, 95% of our cases of back pain we see and treat resolve via osteopathic treatment and conservative means of treatment. If conservative care fails, then we can look into possible options of corticosteroid injections or regenerative medicine. at an absolute last resort, surgery can be performed to remove the problemed disc, otherwise known as a microdiscectomy. Surgery does have a high success rate, but is typically only considered if all conservative treatment fails, or in a state of medical emergency. Although, spinal surgery is often effective in most cases, it is still very invasive, carries many risks and also can cause problems later on in life if not managed correctly.
Treatment options for herniated disc will follow on from this article.
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Don’t let back pain, joint damage, sports injuries or arthritis get in the way of allowing you to do what you want. Schedule a consultation at Dynamic Osteopaths today, and let us treat your injury, provide pain relief and get you back to your full and active lifestyle. We have clinics operating out of Solihull (Henley-In-Arden), Birmingham (Harborne/edgbaston) & Bromsgrove (Barnt Green).
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