(Disk, Herniated; Herniation of Nucleus Pulposus [HNP]; Prolapsed Disc; Ruptured Disc; Slipped Disc)
DefinitionDiscs are small circular, compressible cushions between the vertebral bones in the spinal column. They act as cushions for the vertebrae. A herniated disc bulges from its proper place, putting pressure on spinal nerves. This is most common in the lower spine.
|Herniated Lumbar Disc|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesA herniated disc is caused by reduced water content, which results in flattening and less cushioning. It can also be the result of trauma.
Risk FactorsA herniated disc is generally associated with normal aging. It is more common in people after age 30 years of age. Other factors that may increase your chance of a herniated disc include:
- Trauma from a fall, accident, or sudden twisting
- Strain on the back—either repeated or sudden, as from lifting a heavy weight
- Certain jobs that require heavy lifting
SymptomsA herniated disc may cause:
- May be sharp, dull, piercing, aching, burning, or throbbing, depending on the disc and size of herniation
- May spread over the back, buttocks, down the back of one thigh, and into the calf
- May be in one leg or both legs
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs, feet, or in one or both arms
- In severe cases, inability to find comfort even lying down
- Sudden aching or twisted neck that cannot be straightened without severe pain
- Cauda equina syndrome —involves bowel or bladder changes and/or numbness in the groin
- Note: —This is an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
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