The spine is made up of the vertebrae stacked onto each other. Between each vertebra lies a disc which acts as shock absorbent from daily activities such as jumping, lifting and twisting. Each disc consists of a harder, tough layer called the annulus which enclose the soft, jelly-like center called the nucleus.
Herniated disc also refers to as slipped disc, ruptured disc or disc prolapse; describes a condition where the nucleus is pushed out of the annulus either through tear or rupture. Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine, and is usually a sign of early stage degeneration. The displaced disc may irritate the surrounding spinal nerve causing pain and numbness.
Cause and Risk Factors of Disc Herniation
As a result of aging the water content
in the disc decreases, becoming less flexible and weak. The annulus may be
brittle and prone to tear allowing the nucleus to slip out.
Excessive Strain/ Injury
Movements such as twisting and bending puts a lot of the stress on the spine. Repetitive injury such as often lifting
heavy objects increases the strain on the lower back. Traumatic incidents such as a fall or a blow to the back can be one of the reasons but hardly.
Due to the additional weight, the discs have to work harder to support the spine
Muscles may be weak and are not able to support the spine, putting more stress onto the discs
.Signs and Symptoms of Disc Herniation
The signs and symptoms vary greatly depending on which level of the disc is affected, and weather is it pressing onto a nerve. Herniated disc usually occurs in the lower back as it withstands the most pressure. Disc herniation in the cervical is possible. Common signs and symptoms include:
The initial treatment for such conditions is usually conservative. The doctor might prescribe medications such as painkillers and muscle relaxant to ease the pain. Bed rest and cease of strenuous activity is encouraged to allow healing to occur.
Physiotherapy will be prescribed to help improve the symptoms. Treatment may include soft tissues massage, ultrasound therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises. Complete rest and inactivity may have an adverse effect which can lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Adequate movement such as walking and stretching is required to promote healing.
For any advice or consultations, feel free to contact us at Rapid Physiocare !