A herniated disc (also known as a ruptured or slipped disc) is one of the most common causes of back and leg pain.
The spine is made up of a series of individual bones called vertebrae which are stacked to form the spinal column. Between each vertebra are round, flat cushioning pads known as intervertebral discs. Each disc has a soft, gel-like center known as the nucleus pulposus which is surrounded by a tough, fibrous outer layer known as the annulus.
A herniated disc occurs when pressure from the vertebrae above and below force all or some of the nucleus pulposus through a torn weakened part of the annulus. The herniated nucleus pulposus can press on the nerves near the disc which results in pain.
Typically, herniated discs occur in the lower part of the spine. However, they can also occur in the thoracic and cervical spine.
How Common Is It?
Herniated discs are very common. They are more common in men than in women and is prevalent among those aged 30-50 years old.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of a herniated disc in the lower back include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Numbness or Tingling in the Legs or Feet
- Sciatica (pain that radiates to the buttocks, legs, and feet)
The symptoms of a herniated disc in the neck include:
- Neck Pain
- Neck Muscle Spasms
- Pain that radiates to the shoulder and arm (and sometimes, the hand and fingers)
- Pain over or near the shoulder blades
Some of the factors that can increase your risk of a herniated disc may include:
- Genetics. Some individuals inherit a predisposition to developing a herniated disc.
- Weight. Excess body weight can cause extra stress on the discs in your lower back.
- Occupation. People with physically demanding jobs have a bigger risk of back problems. Repetitive bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling may also increase your risk.
When to See a Doctor
If your pain travels down your leg or arm, or if it’s accompanied by tingling, weakness, or numbness, see your doctor immediately.
You may also see our specialists at Regenerative Cell Institute. As a reputable provider of Stem Cell Therapy in Las Vegas, NV, we utilize advanced regenerative cell treatments to diagnose and treat herniated discs.