You must have heard of a herniated disc. But, what does it actually mean and how do you know if you have one?
Intervertebral discs act as cushions and are shock absorbers that are placed between vertebrae of the spine. When the jelly-like portion of your disc slips and begins to put pressure on a nerve root running from your spinal cord then this can lead to excruciating pain. It’s possible that you are unaware that you have a herniated disc. The condition doesn’t always lead to symptoms. But, this is not true for every person. Occasionally, it can lead to symptoms that you should not ignore. The type of symptoms you experience will also depend on the portion of the spine affected by the condition.
Some of the signs of a Herniated Disc are-
1. Sharp pain in your arm:
This mostly occurs if there is a herniated disc in the cervical spine. This leads to piercing pain in your neck or shoulder blade. Subsequently, this pain can travel throughout your arm and you can also feel the loss of sensation and pain in your elbow, forearm, or fingers. This type of pain can also increase with certain movements of your neck or arms.
2. Pain in the lower region of your body:
A herniated disc in the lumbar spine t leads to pain in the lower region of the body. These include the calf, leg, buttocks, and hips. This pain can get even more severe with sitting, walking, or standing. The presence of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine commonly leads to conditions such as sciatica.
This is another sign of a herniated disc that occurs because the muscles that depend on the affected nerves become weak. This eventually affects your ability to hold items and can make you stumble.
4. A herniated disc may also make it difficult for you to stand in the same position for a long time. This is because of the pressure on the nerve exerted by the herniated disc.
5. Besides pain, signs of a herniated disc could also include tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation.
6. Certain movements such as suddenly getting up from your seat can also trigger pain if you have a herniated disc.
7. Any type of jolt such as the one experienced during coughing or sneezing can also send waves of pain throughout your body because of a herniated disc.
What Happens Next?
If these symptoms are persistent then you should immediately get in touch with your doctor who can then diagnose the underlying condition. This is the only way to know if you have a herniated disc and also enables you to receive the right and timely treatment.
For Diagnosing a Herniated Disc, the doctor can use the following tests:
- Imaging tests: These include diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Though an X-ray will not be helpful in detecting herniated discs, it can be used for eliminating other possible causes of your pain such as a tumor. An MRI could help the doctor in determining the exact location of your herniated disc and the nerves that are being affected by it.
- Nerve diagnostic tests such as electromyography and nerve conduction studies. These tests assist in determining the exact location where nerve damage has occurred by measuring how well the electrical impulses are traveling along the nerve. Based on the results of the diagnostic tests, the doctor can then confirm if the pain you had been feeling was actually a sign of herniated disc.
Some possible treatments for herniated discs are-
- Non-surgical approaches for treating a herniated disc
Surgery will be not recommended to you right away. The doctor may advise more conventional approaches such as physical therapy and medicines. In addition to this, you may also be asked to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. Getting in touch with an experienced physical therapist can help in improving your mobility and flexibility. You may also be encouraged to do less intensive exercises such as walking.
- Surgical approaches for treating a herniated disc
If conservative treatments are found to be ineffective in helping with your pain, then you will be advised to go for surgery. Most commonly, procedures like microdiscectomy are preferred for removing a portion of the herniated disc partially. This procedure leads to faster recovery and less pain.
If the signs of a herniated disc are recognized early and the condition is diagnosed at the right time then you will be able to receive timely and effective treatment for your herniated disc.
Problems of the spine should not be taken lightly. If your locality lacks qualified medical experts, then you can get in touch with a spine surgeon or an orthopedic expert of your choice via our telemedicine platform. It allows you to avail of virtual and affordable consultations.
Avail Microdiscectomy Treatment Across the World
A herniated disc may not always send you signals, but when it does it is important that you pay attention to it. If you have been suffering from pain and weakness for quite some time now, you should consult a qualified doctor who can give you a diagnosis and recommend effective treatments. Fortunately, we can help you connect with experts for your timely diagnosis and treatment.