Disc Herniation

Also known as a slipped disc. Spinal discs are found between the bones of the spine, which act to absorb shock and cushion the spine, are made up of 2 parts; a tough outer ring (anulus fibrosus) and a soft center part (nucleus pulposus). A disc herniation is caused by the tearing of the outer portion of the disc allowing part of the soft center disc to bulge out through the outer rings.

A herniated disc can cause pressure and irritation to nearby nerves leading to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs. Most people with a disc herniation do not require surgery to correct their problem.

Causes of Herniated Discs

Herniated discs usually develop gradually due to everyday wear and tear on the spine, and simply growing older. As we age, the discs in our back lose some of the fluid that helps them stay flexible. The outer layer of the discs can form tiny tears or cracks. The thick gel inside the disc may be forced out through those cracks and cause the disc to bulge or break open. Improper posture or trauma such as falling or lifting and twisting are examples of events that can cause a disc to suddenly herniate.

Symptoms of Herniated Discs

Symptoms of Herniated Discs may include lower back pain, some with radiation down to the hip, legs and feet. Patients with disc herniation cannot tolerate prolonged sitting and standing. Lower limb muscles atrophy or incontinence would be encountered for severe cases.

Do I need surgery for Herniated Disc?

There is only a small percentage of patients with a herniated disc need surgery. There are many non-operative therapies that help reduce the pain and symptoms caused by disc herniation. Spine and Physiotherapist can restore the disc displacement by proper manipulation techniques, by means of lever concept in biomechanics. F & D Technique can apply traction force, releases and twisting force on sites of disc herniation, help fix the disc displacement. And also, the short wave diathermy, heat treatment, lumbar traction, interferential therapy would be used for muscle relaxation and symptomatic relief.

Herniated Disc Diagnosis: MRI or X-ray?

An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. A bone x-ray makes images of any bone in the body, including the hand, wrist, arm, foot, ankle, knee, leg or spine. Regular X-rays will not show a herniated disc, but they will give your Spine and Physiotherapist an idea of how much wear and tear is present in the spine and may show other causes of your problem.

The most common test done today to diagnose a herniated disc is the Magnetic resonance imaging scan (abbreviated MRI). MRI is a method that utilizes a strong magnetic field for transmission of radio waves through the body in order to display 3-dimensional images of the body's organs and structures on a computer screen and on film. MRI is a totally painless procedure with no known side effects. MRI is most commonly used to image the brain, spine, organs in the chest and abdomen, the heart and blood vessels and structures near bones, such as muscles and ligaments.

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Visitors are advised to seek professional help from a registered Spine and Physiotherapist, as individual conditions vary.

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