News just in from our client, Saville Spine Institute about Herniated Disk: Diagnosis and Treatment.

Are you experiencing severe back pain that worsens with movement? Are you having trouble walking or standing upright due to weakness or numbness in your legs? If so, you may be suffering from a herniated disk.

Herniated disks are a common spinal condition affecting millions of people worldwide. While it may sound scary, understanding the diagnosis and treatment options can help alleviate your worries and get you on the road to recovery. This blog post will explore the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of a herniated disk and the available treatment options to help you get back on your feet.

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What is a Herniated Disk?

Also known as a slipped or ruptured disk, a herniated disk happens when one of the soft cushions (disks) between the vertebrae in your spine slips out of place. These disks act as shock absorbers and help with movement and flexibility. When a disk herniates, the soft inner material of the disk (nucleus pulposus) pushes through the outer ring (annulus fibrosus) and can press against nerves, leading to pain and discomfort.

What are the different types of herniated disks?

Let us discuss the different types of herniated disks and their symptoms to help you understand this condition better. 

Protruding Herniated Disk

The most common type is a protruding herniated disk, also known as a bulging disk. It occurs when the outer layer of the intervertebral disc weakens, causing the inner gel-like substance to push outward. This type of herniation usually doesn’t cause pain unless it presses on a nerve or spinal cord.

Extruded Herniated Disk

An extruded herniated disk is a more severe form of a protruding disk. In this type, the inner gel-like substance pushes through the weakened outer layer, creating a bulge. However, unlike a protruding herniated disk, an extruded disk can cause pain and discomfort, as the bulge can pressure the surrounding nerves and spinal cord.

Sequestrated Herniated Disk

A sequestrated herniated disk is the most severe type of herniated disk. In this case, the disk ruptures ultimately, and the inner gel-like substance leaks out, causing severe pain and discomfort. The leaked substance can also put pressure on the spinal cord, leading to nerve damage and other serious health complications.

Herniated Cervical Disk

A herniated cervical disk occurs in the neck and can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers. This type of herniation is more common in older adults due to age-related wear and tear on the spine.

Herniated Lumbar Disk

A herniated lumbar disk is the most common type of herniation in the lower back. It can cause intense pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. This type of herniation is often caused by heavy lifting, twisting, and other strenuous activities.

What are 3 common symptoms of a herniated disk?

A herniated disk can affect various parts of your body, depending on where the affected disk is located. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain and numbness: The pain can vary in intensity, from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting sensation, and may radiate down your legs.
  • Muscle weakness: You may experience weakness in your legs, affecting your ability to walk, stand, or lift objects.
  • Tingling or burning sensation: Some people may also experience a tingling or burning sensation in the affected area.

Diagnosis of Herniated Disks

Diagnosing herniated disks involves a thorough physical exam and a variety of imaging tests. During the physical exam, your doctor will check for any areas of tenderness or numbness in your back and test your reflexes and muscle strength.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, can help confirm the diagnosis and determine the location and severity of the herniation. These tests can also rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Additionally, your doctor may recommend a nerve conduction study or electromyography to evaluate the health of your nerves and muscles.

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