26 Jul Accident and Injury? Know about Disc Herniation and Protrusions
Disc herniation and protrusions are called by many names. From bulging discs and herniated discs to slipped discs, they all describe the damage or degeneration of the intervertebral discs. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may be wondering what is causing it. In some cases, the answer may be a disc herniation or protrusion. Here’s what you should know about these conditions and how they can be treated.
The Intervertebral Disc?
What is it, and how important is it to your spine?
The intervertebral disc is a shock-absorbing cushion that sits between your vertebrae. It comprises the inner nucleus pulposus and the outer annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus is a gel-like substance that acts as a cushion, while the annulus fibrosus is a tough, outer ring that helps to keep the disc in place.
The intervertebral disc plays an important role in your spine. It helps to absorb shock and protect your vertebrae from damage. Additionally, it allows your spine to move freely and flexibly.
Unfortunately, the intervertebral disc can sometimes damage due to injury or disease. When this happens, it can lead to a number of problems, including pain, stiffness, and even nerve damage.
What Is Disc Herniation or Protrusion?
Disc herniation, or protrusion, is a condition in which the outer layer of the disc tears, allowing the inner gel-like material to leak out. This can put pressure on nearby nerves and cause pain. Disc herniation is also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc. Disc herniation most commonly occurs in the lower back, but can also occur in the neck. There are two main types of disc herniation:
- Bulging disc:
A bulging disc is when the outer layer of the disc swells or bulges outward. However, there is no tear in the outer layer. This can happen with age as the discs dry out and shrink.
- Herniated disc:
A herniated disc is when there is a tear in the outer layer of the disc and the inner gel leaks out. This can happen due to an injury, lifting something heavy, or other strain on the back.
Disc herniation can cause pain in the back or neck, as well as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs. If the herniated disc is pressing on a nerve root, it can cause pain that radiates down the arm or leg. This is known as sciatica.
Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Herniation and Protrusions
Pain in the neck region
A protruding disc can easily irritate the nerves around the neck region and extend into the arms. The pain may also come in the form of weak muscles in the hand, arm, and shoulder or a loss of sensations in those areas.
Pain in the back region
When it affects the lower back, it’s referred to as sciatica. However, for the mid-back region, it isn’t always common, and when it occurs, it may affect the spinal cord and lead to compression. The common symptoms include pain and numbness.
Common Causes of Protruding Discs
Degenerative disc disease
Spondylosis is the major cause of protruding discs, which can occur naturally as a person ages. The disc becomes prone to degeneration and damage as the entire body loses density and discs become dehydrated.
Poor posture caused by long periods of sitting, long-distance coverage, and constant exercising can affect the disc and cause degeneration.
Accident Injuries and trauma
Rupturing of the vertebrae and traumatic experiences can also cause damage to the discs.
An extremely overweight person can cause the weight of the body to put a strain on the discs.
For disc herniation and protrusions, the first step will be to use conservative treatment within a few weeks. It typically involves a combination of physiotherapy, bed rest, pain medication, and lifestyle changes if needed.
However, if the symptoms persist for much longer or the initial treatments fail, a doctor can prescribe further treatments like prosthetic intervertebral disc replacement, disc fusion surgery, or microdiscectomy. It’s advised to visit a pain management clinic to get the best consultation.
Colorado Accidents & Injuries is a pain management clinic specializing in chiropractic and physical therapy services, especially to accident and injury victims who desire a lasting solution to their pain. Contact us today for the fastest and best physical therapy in Colorado Springs.