Herniated disc causes
Sometimes, a herniated disc causes a variety of symptoms that can prevent you from living the active lifestyle you enjoy. While some lifestyle changes may help reduce symptoms, more severe herniated discs may require more involved medical treatment.
This degenerative spine condition typically develops as a result of years of wear and tear, and if left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and symptoms later in life. If this condition is affecting you, having a better understanding of the underlying causes can be an important part of the treatment process, helping you work more closely with your doctor to develop an effective, personalized treatment plan.
Primary causes of a herniated disc
A herniated disc occurs when a tear develops in the wall of the disc, allowing inner disc material to be pushed into the spinal column. This condition can sometimes go undetected, usually when the inner disc fluid does not touch any surrounding nerves in the spine. However, if the herniated disc material does press against a nearby nerve, localized and radiating pain may develop. Additionally, a ruptured disc can cause a variety of other symptoms throughout the body, including pain, weakness and numbness in the nearby extremities.
The most common cause of disc deterioration is the natural aging process of the spine. As we grow older, the parts of the spine naturally begin to wear down, and a herniated disc can develop when the disc wall weakens and tears from continual pressure from the surrounding vertebrae. Additional herniated disc causes and contributors include traumatic injury, obesity, poor posture, smoking and other lifestyle factors.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
The symptoms experienced from a herniated disc depend largely on your medical history and the location and severity of the damaged disc. A person with a herniated disc in the neck, for example, may experience symptoms throughout the upper body, while a herniated disc in the lower back can lead to discomfort throughout the lower body. Generally speaking, the most common symptoms that a herniated disc causes include:
- Local pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness
- A feeling of heat or pins and needles
- Stiffness or soreness
- Diminished reflexes
Treatment options for a herniated disc
In a large number of cases, a course of conservative treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), low-impact exercises, stretching techniques and heat therapy offers sufficient relief for patients diagnosed with a herniated disc.
In the event that symptoms continue and your doctor has asked that you consider spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Instead of cutting through the muscles near the spine, our surgeons are able to access the spine through a small incision and the use of muscle-sparing techniques.
For more information about our minimally invasive spine surgery, get in touch with the caring team at Laser Spine Institute today. Ask for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.