Disc herniation

What is a herniated disc?

The bones – the vertebrae forming the human spine are lined with small porous cartilage discs.

When in their usual state, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and maintain its flexibility.

But if one of these discs becomes damaged, it slips or ruptures. This condition is called a herniated disc.

Herniated disc can occur in any part of the spine. But most often it affects the lower part of the spine, sometimes it develops in the cervical vertebrae and less often in the upper back in the chest area.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

If the herniated disc is not pressing on a nerve, you may have lower back pain or no symptoms at all. Cases of severe and worrying symptoms are rare.

When the hernia does not press on a nerve, the symptoms can be:

  • Pain passing from the buttock down the leg to the tip of the toes. Lower back pain may also be accompanied by leg pain.
  • Tingling in both legs or only one leg, which may start from the lower back and reach the knee or to ankle.
  • Feeling of weakness in some muscles of one or both legs.
  • Pain in front of thigh.
  • Severe and deep muscle pain or muscle spasm.

What causes it?

One of the leading causes of the development of a herniated disc is the wear and tear of the cartilage tissue between the vertebrae.

Over time, with long-term loads and stress accumulation, the discs may begin to lose their elasticity and flexibility.

This impairs their ability to cushion the loads in the spine and protect the neural structures. As a result, the disc becomes thinner and more vulnerable to damage.

Another cause of a herniated disc is related to trauma to the spine. This injury can be the result of several factors, such as accidents such as a fall, bump, or injury during sports activities.

Trauma can cause small cracks in the outer covering of the disc, called the annulus fibrosus.

When this annulus is damaged, the colloidal gel from inside the disc can leak or bulge, forming a bulge or herniation.

Most patients with a herniated disc complain of pain, usually located in the spine, but can also be felt in the hips or buttocks.

Pain can be sharp, raw and even spread along nerve pathways, which is called “referred pain”.

Additional symptoms may include numbness, weakness and reduced mobility of the affected area.

Ponytail Complications

Ponytail syndrome is a rare but serious complication related to the health of the spine.

This medical problem involves compression of the nerve roots that form the cauda equina, which can lead to serious neurological symptoms and functional impairment.

The cauda equina is a term used to describe the structure at the end of the spinal cord that looks like a horse’s tail.

Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are varied and vary according to the degree of compression and nerve structures involved.

One of the most common and anxiety-inducing symptoms is a feeling of weakness and paralysis in the legs.

Patients may experience difficulty controlling leg movement, which may manifest as clubbing, unsteadiness or even immobility.

In addition, cauda equina syndrome can affect bladder and bowel functions. Loss of control over passing urine and stool is common with this condition.

These types of neurological symptoms are extremely serious and require immediate medical intervention to prevent further damage and complications.

The causes of cauda equina syndrome can include several factors.

One of them is degeneration of the spine, associated with wear and tear of the discs and joints, which can put pressure on the nerve structures.

Traumatic injuries to the spine or the presence of tumors and inflammation in the region of the horse’s tail can also be factors contributing to the development of this syndrome.

Treatment of herniated disc

Your treating doctor will recommend that you take a short break or, if that is not possible, at least reduce your usual activities by at least half, after which you should gradually increase your activity.< /p>

Usually, a herniated disc heals on its own. And that is why the treatment takes place in a home environment with the application of pain relief methods.

  • To relieve the pain, you can try hot or cold compresses on the pain site.
  • Light exercise to strengthen the muscles of the spine by gradually increasing their intensity.

Surgical treatment is applied only if conservative methods have failed.

Surge to surgery in about 10% of cases and persistent severe pain continues for more than 4 weeks or cauda equina syndrome has developed, a condition that does not tolerate delay and requires immediate surgery.


How to protect yourself from a herniated disc?

  • Keep your body weight within normal limits according to your height. This will reduce the load on the lower back and buttocks.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Give up smoking. Nicotine can damage spinal discs because it reduces the ability of the discs to absorb nutrients, making them thinner and more prone to tearing.
  • Keep your back straight when walking and sitting.

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