If you are experiencing back pain, especially pain that travels to one or more extremity, you may have a herniated spinal disc. Each one of your spinal discs has a nucleus encased in a tough exterior called the annulus. When the nucleus, which has a jelly-like quality, pushes out through the annulus due to a tear or rupture, it is called a herniated, bulging, or slipped disc.
Usually caused by degeneration of the disc as a result of aging, the herniated material can irritate the surrounding nerves in the spinal canal. Weak back muscles can also contribute to a herniated disc. It is also possible to get a herniated disc as a result of an accident.
Your spinal discs serve as shock absorbers, and if there is a herniation of one of the them, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
Most often, the symptoms of a herniated disc include pain, weakness, and numbness in your arm or leg, depending on the location of the herniated disc. The symptoms typically occur on one side of the body only.
There are some cases in which patients feel no symptoms at all from a herniated disc. In such situations, the herniated disc is not pressing against any of the spinal nerves. Due to this, the patient may only feel a mild aching in the lower back or no pain at all.
A herniated disc can occur anywhere along the spine, and the symptoms depend on the location of it. For instance:
Lumbar Spine Discs
Herniated discs in the lumbar spine region cause symptoms in the lower back and lower extremities. It may even irritate the sciatic nerve — the longest nerve in the body — causing severe pain and electric, shock-like, burning, or tingling sensations as well as numbness that travels from the hip all the way down to the foot. The pain often gets worse when walking, standing, or sitting for long periods of time.
Cervical Spine Discs
For herniated discs that occur in the cervical spine region (upper back and neck), the symptoms are usually felt in the neck and shoulder blades, and they often radiate down the arms, all the way to the fingers. Certain positions and movements, such as heavy lifting or awkward motions, can worsen symptoms.
A herniated disc in the cervical spine can result in the compression of the spinal cord, which may require professional treatment, since this can affect your fine motor skills and balance.
Herniated Disc Treatment in Dover, New Jersey
If you suspect you may have a herniated disc, the spine surgeons at the Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey can help give you an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
A clinical diagnosis of a herniated disc is the first step to receiving proper treatment for it. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeons are experts in the field of spine care and offer a variety of treatments, including surgery.
To schedule a consultation with our spine doctors, call the Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey at (973) 989-0888 or send us an appointment request now. We look forward to helping you find relief.