Back pain can arise out the blue, especially when you least expect it. One minute you’re sitting comfortably in front of the TV watching your favorite serial and the next you try to stand up to fetch the remote, OH MY GOD!! All of a sudden, a sharp pain penetrates through your lower back.
Have you wondered about what’s causing it? Could you have a slipped or herniated disk?
Your spine is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae that are cushioned by soft disks made of a jelly-like substance. These disks are what allow you to move your spine around and bend over. A herniated disk is looked upon as a problem with one of the elastic cushions (disks) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that serve as the building blocks in the making of spine.
A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves which consequently leads to pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who have a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem. Generally, herniated disks take place in your lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also transpire in your neck (cervical spine).
Some common symptoms include:
- Arm or leg pain
- Numbness or tingling
You are at a risk of being the victim of herniated disc if you are:
- Doing physical labor at your work which requires too much bending
- If this problem runs in your genes
Your spinal cord doesn’t extend into the lower portion of your spinal canal. Just below your waist, the spinal cord separates into a group of long nerve roots (cauda equina) that resemble a horse’s tail. Rarely, disc herniation can compress the entire cauda equina. Emergency surgery may be required to avoid permanent weakness or paralysis. Immediately seek medical attention if you have:
- Worsening symptoms. Pain, numbness or weakness may increase to the point that you can’t perform your usual daily activities.
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction. People who have cauda equina syndrome may become incontinent or have difficulty urinating even with a full bladder.
- Saddle anesthesia. This progressive loss of sensation affects the areas that would touch a saddle — the inner thighs, back of legs and the area around the rectum.
Herniated disc can be prevented if exercise becomes a part of your daily routine, you maintain a good posture even at times when you feel fatigue, and most importantly, maintain an adequate body weight