A herniated disc is formed when the tough, fibrous outer covering of an intervertebral disc becomes weak and tears causing the soft tissue in the center to be pushed outwards through the tear due to pressure from the vertebrae above and below the disc, resulting in a slipped or ruptured disc. The disc protrusion presses on the surrounding nerves and soft tissue, causing pain. Herniated discs occur due to aging and wear and tear of the tissues. Obesity or a sudden strain on the spinal column due to lifting heavy objects with incorrect posture or an unexpected, violent twisting motion have also led to slipped discs.
Although the condition occurs most often in the lumbar spine (lower back), they may also affect the thoracic spine (chest) or the cervical spine (neck), leading to tingling numbness, muscle weakness, or spasms, as well as:
a. back pain and sciatica or pain that radiated to the buttocks, legs, and feet
b. neck pain, especially on the back and sides of the neck, which increases with movement
Herniated discs are visualized on X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans and evaluated for pain and muscle weakness on clinical examination of the patient. Pain management, bed rest, physical therapy, spinal injections or nerve blocks, and even surgery in severe cases or large herniations are used for the treatment of the condition.
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