You also know how this condition is diagnosed, how to avoid it and what the risk factors are (Infobae/Jovani Pérez)
A herniated disc refers to a problem with one of the cartilage cushions (discs) found between the bones (vertebrae) that stack together to form the spine.
A spinal disc has a soft, gelatinous center (nucleus) encapsulated in a harder, rubberier exterior (annulus). Sometimes called a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when part of the nucleus is pushed out through a tear in the rim.
A herniated disc, which can occur anywhere in the spine, most often occurs in the lower back. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, it can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.
Many people do not have symptoms of a herniated disc. For people who do have symptoms, they tend to improve over time. Surgery is usually not necessary to alleviate the problem.
Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, although they can also occur in the neck. Signs and symptoms depend on the location of the disc and whether the disc is pressing on a nerve. Usually, herniated discs affect one side of the body.
Pain in arms or legs. If your herniated disc is in the lower back, in addition to the pain in this area, you will usually feel pain in the buttocks, thigh and calf. You could also have pain in part of the foot.
If your herniated disc is in the neck, you will usually feel more pain in the shoulder and arm. This pain can appear in the arm or leg when you cough, sneeze, or move into certain positions. The pain is often described as sharp or burning. Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disc often have radiating numbness or tingling to the part of the body where the affected nerves connect. Weakness. The muscles to which the affected nerves connect tend to weaken. This can cause you to stumble or affect your ability to lift or hold objects.
You can have a herniated disc without symptoms. You may not know you have it unless it shows up on a spinal image.
When should you see a doctor?
In the event of any discomfort, it is best to see a doctor (Christin Klose / dpa)
Factors that may increase the risk of a herniated disc include: The weight. Excess body weight causes additional stress on the discs in the lower back. The job. People with physically demanding jobs are at higher risk of back problems. Repetitive movements that involve lifting, pulling or pushing objects, leaning to the side, or twisting the body can also increase the risk of a herniated disc. The genetic. Some people inherit the predisposition to have a herniated disc. Smoke. It is believed that smoking decreases the oxygen supply to the discs and causes them to deteriorate more quickly. Frequent driving. Sitting for long periods of time, coupled with vibration from the vehicle’s engine, can put pressure on the spine. be sedentary Regular exercise can help prevent a herniated disc.
During the physical exam, the doctor will check your back for tenderness. You may be asked to lie down and move your legs in various positions to determine the cause of the pain.
The doctor may also perform a neurological exam to assess the following: Reflexes Muscle strength Ability to walk Ability to feel light touch, pinpricks, or vibration
In most cases of a herniated disc, a physical exam and medical history are all that is needed for a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects another condition or needs to see which nerves are affected, he or she may order one or more of the following tests.
X-rays. Plain X-rays won’t detect herniated discs, but they can rule out other causes of back pain, such as infection, tumor, spinal alignment problems, or broken bone. CT scan. A CT scanner takes a series of x-rays from different directions and then combines them to create cross-sectional images of the spine and surrounding structures. Magnetic resonance. Radio waves and a strong magnetic field are used to create images of structures inside the body. This test can be used to confirm the location of the herniated disc and to see which nerves are affected. myelography. A contrast substance is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid before a CT scan is done. This test can detect pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to multiple herniated discs or other conditions.
Each disease has one or more ways to diagnose it in order to detect it and then fight it (Europa Press)
Conservative treatment (mainly modifying activities to avoid painful movement and taking pain medication) relieves symptoms in most people within a few days or weeks.
Non-prescription pain relievers. If the pain is mild to moderate, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Neuropathic drugs. These medicines affect nerve impulses to decrease pain. These include gabapentin (Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta, Drizalma Sprinkle), and venlafaxine (Effexor XR). Muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed if you have muscle spasms. Sedation and dizziness are common side effects. Opioids. Due to the side effects of opioids and the possibility of becoming addicted to them, many doctors are hesitant to prescribe them for a bulging disc. If other medications don’t relieve your pain, your doctor might consider short-term use of opioids, such as codeine or a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Oxycet). Sedation, nausea, confusion, and constipation are possible side effects of these drugs. Cortisone injections. If the pain does not improve with oral medications, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid that can be injected into the area around the spinal nerves. Imaging tests of the spine can help guide the needle.
Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to relieve pain. Physical therapists can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize pain from a herniated disc.
Few people with herniated discs need surgery. Your doctor might suggest surgery if more invasive treatments fail to improve your symptoms after six weeks, especially if you continue to have: Poorly controlled pain Numbness or weakness Difficulty standing or walking Loss of bladder or bowel control
In almost all cases, surgeons can remove only the protruding part of the disc. In rare cases, the entire disc must be removed. In these cases, the vertebrae may need to be fused with a bone graft.
To allow for the process of bone fusion, which takes months, metal pieces are placed in the spine to provide spinal stability. In rare cases, the surgeon may suggest the implantation of an artificial disc.