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A herniated disc occurs when the spongy, soft material that cushions the bones of the spine (vertebrae) slips out of place or becomes damaged. You can have a herniated disc in any part of your spine. When a herniated disc presses on a nerve, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. Wear and tear, also called disc degeneration, is the usual cause of a herniated disc. As we age, the discs in our back lose some of the fluid that helps them stay flexible. The outer layer of the discs can form tiny tears or cracks. The thick gel inside the disc may be forced out through those cracks and cause the disc to bulge or break open.
This can also happen when you injure your back. Injury can occur from:
– A sudden heavy strain or increased pressure to the lower back. Sometimes a sudden twisting movement or even a sneeze will force some of the material out.
– Activities that are done over and over again that may stress the lower back, including poor lifting habits, prolonged exposure to vibration, and sports-related injuries.
If the herniated disc isn’t pressing on a nerve, you may have an ache in the low back or no symptoms at all.
People who have herniated discs can develop severe or troublesome symptoms.
When the disc does press on a nerve, symptoms may include:
– Pain that travels through the buttock and down a leg to the ankle or foot because of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Low back pain may accompany the leg pain.
– Tingling (“pins-and-needles” sensation) or numbness in one leg that can begin in the buttock or behind the knee and extend to the thigh, ankle, or foot.
– Weakness in certain muscles in one or both legs.
– Pain in the front of the thigh.
– Severe deep muscle pain and muscle spasms
Weakness in both legs and the loss of bladder and/or bowel control are symptoms of a specific and severe type of nerve root compression called caudal equine syndrome. This is a rare but serious problem. A person with these symptoms should see a doctor right away.
It’s important to see your doctor if you’ve had constant or increasing pain for more than 4 to 6 weeks. Getting help early on can lower your chance of having lasting problems, such as the following:
Remember that disc herniations are a symptom of another problem – the spine degeneration process. Be sure that your spine doctor discusses with you the entire nature of your problem when outlining a comprehensive and optimal treatment program. For this reason alone you may want to take advantage of having a consultation with Dr. Peter Ting to help determine just where you are with your current condition and see if you are a candidate for our LASR Protocols.
Contact our office at (604) 675-6966 to schedule an initial consultation with the Doctor to determine your individual situation. Medical Evaluation and Diagnostic testing procedures should be performed prior to beginning any treatment in order to determine the most effective process. After carefully studying your case history and exam findings, the Doctor will sit down and explain his recommended plan of action for you. After answering any questions you may have about the recommended plan, you may begin your care.