We use our backs for everything: walking, sitting, twisting, bending, and more. When we experience back pain of any sort, it’s no wonder that it can majorly impact your life. Herniated discs are an issue that many people can experience without any pain or symptoms, but in other cases, they can cause quite a bit of pain and difficultly going about your day-to-day life. Herniated discs can cause pain not just in your back, but also in your arms and legs.
Here’s what you need to know about herniated discs, potential causes and risk factors, as well as some warning signs that you may have one. We’ll also touch on what you can do if you’re experiencing this condition.
What Is A Herniated Disc?
Your spinal discs provide cushioning and support between your vertebrae. They let your spine move freely as you walk and bend and lift. They absorb shock to the spine and protect its bones.
Spinal discs have two parts: a tough outer ring and a soft inner portion. They’re often compared to jelly doughnuts, because of their harder exterior and gelatinous inner part. If you have a herniated disc, this means that your spinal disc has been injured or become weakened in a way that causes the inner portion of the spinal disc to protrude through the exterior.
Herniated discs are also called slipped discs, ruptured discs, or bulging discs. They’re among the most common causes of pain in your back, neck, and/or legs. They usually heal on their own, but in some cases, they can require more intensive treatment and even surgery in the worst cases.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
This condition happens when the outer layer of your spinal disc weakens and cracks and the inner part of it pushes through. If the inner part of your spinal disc presses on spinal nerves, this can cause other issues.
This can happen through the normal wear and tear of aging, known as disc degeneration. This is because as you age, there’s less water in your body, which causes it to be less flexible and more prone to injury.
In many cases, people don’t know what caused their slipped disc. In some cases, this can happen as a result of an injury, such as falling on your back.
Some of the factors that increase your risk of getting a herniated disc include:
- Aging, because of lessened water in the body
- Smoking, because it lessens the supply of oxygen to the discs
- Excess weight, because it puts extra stress on your spinal discs
- Frequent driving, because it puts pressure on your spine
- A sedentary lifestyle, because you’re not up and moving
- Physically demanding jobs, because of the repetitive lifting, twisting, and use of your back
- Genetics, because some people have a predisposition to getting slipped discs
Telltale Signs You May Have A Herniated Disc
It is entirely possible for you to have a herniated disc without experiencing any pain or symptoms. Depending on where in the spine your problem is, the symptoms may vary. For instance, if it is towards the top of your spine, you are more likely to have arm problems. If it is towards the base of your spine, you’re more likely to have leg problems. Symptoms usually worsen the more that you move and improve the more that you allow yourself to rest.
Some of the telltale signs that you may have a herniated disc include:
- Pain while sitting
- Radiating pain into your leg
- Pain and numbness on one side of your body
- Tingling in your hips and legs
- Weakness in your legs
- Pain while walking
- Arm pain, numbness, or weakness
- Pain that occurs/is worsened by activities
- Struggling to bend or straighten your back
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Experiencing relief from pain when you rest
Because not all slipped discs are symptomatic and the above symptoms could be the cause of a variety of different issues, you can schedule an appointment with a chiropractor in order to diagnose the issue.
What To Do If You Have A Herniated Disc
In many cases, herniated discs will go away on their own with proper rest and some over-the-counter treatments, like pain killers. If your pain does not go away, you can schedule an appointment with a chiropractor so that they can relieve the pressure on your discs and reposition any bulging discs. Chiropractors have a variety of treatment methods that they utilize in order to restore your spine to proper alignment.
Elite Chiropractic provides chiropractic care for herniated discs. If you’re experiencing pain, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our complimentary consultations can identify the root cause of your pain and help us formulate a treatment plan that can restore your spinal health and improve your quality of life.
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