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What is Slipped disc / Herniated Disk?

“Slipped” or “ruptured disk” on the spine is commonly referred to the herniated disk. Usually the source of pain for neck, lower back, arms or legs are from a herniated disk.


What Cause Slipped disc / Herniated Disk?

A ruptured disk is cause by the stress and pressure in between the spinal bone. Therefore this added pressure on the nerves as a resulting pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs.


What is the Risk Factors/Prevention for Slipped disc / Herniated Disk

The fluid in the disks will decrease as people age and the disks become more ridged. The size of the disk will decrease and the spaces within the vertebrae get narrower. The conditions that can weaken the disk include:

  • Incorrect posture when lifting heavy load
  • Smoking
  • Obesity which put pressure on the disk
  • Strenuous activities on a daily or regular basis
  • Sudden movement or pressure which may injured the back

What are the Symptoms for slipped disc/ Herniated Disk?

Lower Back

The common symptoms of a herniated dick are sciatica, where a sharp pain spreads from the lower back down to the leg due to compression on the spinal nerve. Other signs include:

  • Weakness in one leg
  • Tingling or numbness in one leg or buttock
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • A burning pain centered in the neck

Neck

The pain will appear in the muscles between the neck and shoulder (trapezius muscle), it spreads down to the arm. Sometime this pain can cause headaches in the back of the head. Other signs include:

  • Weakness in one arm
  • Tingling or numbness in one arm
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Burning pain in the shoulders, neck, or arm

How is Slipped Disc / Herniated Disk being Diagnosed? 

The doctor will ask the patient to do a series of physical examination to find out which nerves are affected. Some imaging test such as X-ray CT (computed tomography), electromyography or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be taken for more accurate diagnosis.


What are the treatments for Slipped Disc / Herniated Disk?

Nonsurgical Treatment

Most people had their neck or back pain ease even without surgery.

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and take more rest may solve the problem.
  • Applying ice or cold compresses few times a day for less than 20 minutes each time.
  • Applying gentle heat applications after any spasms.
  • Muscle relaxers, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medications can also be helpful.

Surgical Treatment

A surgery should be done if disk fluid flows into the spinal canal and puts pressures on the nerve, which can cause part of the body to be malfunction. A microdiscectomy or laminectomy surgery can be done, depending on the location and size of the disk herniation.

These surgical procedures require patient to undergo general anesthesia and it is done as an outpatient or require overnight hospital stay. You may return to work within 2 to 6 weeks after surgery.