If you’ve ever heard of a herniated disc in necks and backs, you probably know that it can be painful, but might not know exactly why or what causes them. To better explain, think of each spinal disc as a rubbery, jelly-filled doughnut resting between each of the vertebrae that make up your spine.
Also referred to as a ruptured or slipped disc, a herniated disc is usually the result of slow degeneration over time with age, most often capped off by a single event that causes the final stress needed to do the damage, such as lifting heavy objects improperly or an unusual and sudden twisting motion.
As you age, each and every disc starts to lose some of their water content which makes them more fragile, and, going back to the jelly-filled doughnut analogy, a herniated disc occurs when the softer substance inside leaks or bursts out through a crack or opening in the tougher, rubber exterior.
While this sounds painful and usually is, it’s also entirely possible to not even notice in less severe cases, which is why it’s all the more important to get any of those nagging pains and discomfort checked out.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
Herniated discs can occur anywhere along the spine, and the symptoms can vary depending on which disc is affected. If the herniated disc is in the neck, you will notice more pain in your upper body, around your shoulders and arms, which is usually made worse by upper body bending or twisting.
For a herniated lumbar disc (in your lower spine), pain can radiate all the way down to your feet. Any tingling or numbness can be a result of nerve damage, as well as sudden and/or worsening weakness in your arms, legs, or back.
Herniated Disc Exercises
The good news is that the painful and uncomfortable symptoms of herniated discs in the neck or back can be relieved without surgery in 90 percent of patients, through a variety of non-invasive treatment methods and exercises.
The first thing to do is rest and avoid any strenuous lifting or twisting that can make the situation worse, but prolonged bed rest can actually hurt more than help by leading to tight joints and weakened muscles. The key is to find the right balance between resting and light exercises such as walking or other non-strenuous physical activities.
There are also several specific exercises and movements that Dr. Mohr, the best-rated Tampa chiropractor, can walk you through to relieve your symptoms as soon as possible.
With the right treatment plan, the amount of leaked "jelly" can actually shrink and you could be completely symptom-free in as little as a month or two.
So if you think you have a bulging or herniated disc in your neck or lower back, please come in as soon as possible, so we can work together to solve the problem, before it gets worse.
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