A herniated disc is one of the top causes of lower back pain, especially in people over the age of 30. While it’s not as common, you can also develop a herniated disc in your neck. The team at MultiCare Medical Group carefully evaluate your spine to verify the presence of a herniated disc, then develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain, improve movement, and promote healing. If you suffer from back or neck pain, please don’t hesitate to call MultiCare at 402.505.7989 to reach our office in Papillion, Nebraska.
What is a herniated disc?
The bones in your spine are cushioned by flat, round discs tucked between each bone. These discs consist of a tough outer layer that encloses a soft, jelly-like material in the center. If the exterior shell is damaged, the inner material can leak out of the disc. When that happens, you have a herniated disc.
What causes a herniated disc?
Disc degeneration naturally occurs from wear-and-tear over the years. As you get older, discs dry out and become less flexible, which makes them vulnerable.
Repetitive movements contribute to disc herniation by placing additional stress on the spine. Using back muscles to lift something heavy or suddenly twisting your back puts enough pressure on a degenerated disc to cause herniation. A fall or other injury may also cause a herniated disc.
What increases your risk for developing a herniated disc?
- Gender: Men between the ages of 30-50 have a higher risk
- Weight: Carrying extra weight increases the stress on the discs in your lower back
- Occupation: Jobs that required a lot of lifting, pulling, bending, or twisting put you at risk for herniated disc
- Extended time spent sitting: Staying seated for long periods puts extra pressure on your spine
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking may cause more rapid disc degeneration by limiting the supply of oxygen
What symptoms will you experience with a herniated disc?
While herniated discs can appear anywhere along your spine, they’re most common in the lower back and neck.
Symptoms of a herniated disc in your lower back:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in thigh, calf, or buttocks
- Pain radiating down leg
- Numbness or tingling in your leg and/or foot
- Weakness in the leg and/or foot
When the herniated disc is in your neck, you have pain, numbness, tingling, and/or muscle weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, or hands, depending on where the herniation occurs.
How is a herniated disc treated?
The therapies included in your treatment plan are chosen according to your degree of pain, level of activity, and overall health. Your plan may include:
Gentle massage on muscles that support the spine boosts circulation, relaxes muscles, and improves motion in the spine. This helps relieve pressure on the disc and encourages healing.
Several spinal techniques alleviate pain and promote healing as they take pressure off the disc and realign the spine. Spinal decompression, joint mobilization, and flexion-distraction are three chiropractic techniques that are effective for treating lower back pain and disc herniation.