Disc herniation, symptoms, causes and treatment

The spinal cord is comprised of discs that resembles like a jelly donut. From age and sudden injuries the, softer central part can get herniate by the encircling outer ring. The unexpected damage of the central part of the disc is referred to as a disc herniation in medical terms and commonly known as a slipped disc

Usually disc herniation occurs at the disc placed between the fourth and the fifth vertebral column at the lower back, as this part is highly involved in bearing the weight of the upper body, particularly in standing and sitting. The lower back also plays and important role in the movement, such as twisting, bending and lifting objects the whole day

Risks involved in disc herniation

Disc herniation when got worst may cause decomposition of the spine or bending of the spine


The symptoms of the disc herniation depend on the location of the spine where the disc has been displaced and the damaged nerve, the disc herniation may cause severe pain at the damaged disc, an immense disc herniation may pinch the nerves causing throbbing pain in one side of the lower body spreading of the toes referred to as sciatica, more often the pain is accompanied with numbness, weakness and tingling in the leg. The pain gets intolerable with standing  and gets better in the resting position

Disc herniation in the cervical spine may cause shooting pain in the arm, the neck becomes stiff. When the disc herniation is potentially extensive it can pinch the nerves on both the sides of the body, consequently leading to severe pain, accompanied with dysfunction of the bowel and the bladder


Several physical examination along with the image testing is conducted by the physician, the test might include;

  • Positive leg raising test
  • Blood test
  • X-ray
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • Electromeyogram


Based on the degree of the symptoms, the disc herniation treatment include

  • Physical therapy
  • Muscle-relaxant drugs
  • Pain medication
  • NSAIDs
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery

Sufficient amount of rest and avoidance of intense workout is advised of the patient’s suffering from disc herniation. Sometimes the patients experiencing minor disc herniation are well treated with physical therapy and medications hence the need for surgery is wiped out. As surgery might involve several complications and brings the risks of infection, re herniation of the disc, persistent pain and degenerative disc disease