Your spine is made up of a series of bones (vertebra) placed one above the other. From top to bottom, the spine includes 7 bones in the cervical spine, twelve in the thoracic spine, and 5 in the lumbar spine, followed by the sacrum and the coccyx at the base. There is a cushion between every 2 vertebra known as disc. The discs protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, and twisting.
Slip disc occurs when the soft inner gel like portion of the disc sticks out through the tough outer part of disc called annulus ring. It is also known as herniated disc or disc prolapsed or bulging disc. Slipped discs are equally common in young and older adults.
Any disc in the spine can prolapse. However, mostly slip disc occurs in the lumbar part of the spine (lower back pain). The size of the prolapse can vary. As a rule, the larger the prolapse, the more severe the sciatica symptoms are likely to be.
You need to call a slip disc doctor if any of these symptoms of a slipped disc present
You can have a slipped disk in any part of your spine, from neck to the lower back. Symptoms of slip disc vary, based on where (for ex; L4-L5, L5-S1 in lumbar spine or C5-C6, C6-C7 in cervical spine) the slip disc has occurred and if it is pressing any of your spinal nerves. The lower back is one of the most common areas for slipped disc. A slipped disk can place extra pressure on the nerves and muscles around it. Lower back slip disc frequently accompanies sciatica pain.
- Pain and numbness, commonly on one side of the body, though may be on both sides.
- Lower back pain or neck pain depending upon the site of slip disc
- Pain that extends to your arms or legs called radicular pain
- Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
- Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
- Pain while walking for short distances
- Unexplained muscle weakness
- Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the legs or arms
Causes of Slipped Disc
A slip disc occurs when the outer tough ring becomes weak or torn and allows the inner jelly like portion to slip out, causing irritation to spinal nerves resulting into pinched nerves or trapped nerves. Now-a-days our life style has become very unhealthy. We don’t do regular exercises, long sitting working hours, wrong posture, lack of sports activity etc. Many a times slip disc can happen even after minor injury or jerk.
- Twisting or turning to lift an object
- Lifting a very large, heavy object
- Lifting weight over the head
- As you get older
- Physically demanding job that requires a lot of lifting
- Overweight individuals are also at increased risk
- Weak muscles and a sedentary lifestyle
How to make diagnosis of slipped disc
Your spine specialist doctor will first perform a physical exam or clinical examination. He will be looking for the source of your pain and discomfort. This will involve checking your nerve role and muscle strength. Following tests can help your spine specialist doctor view the bones, nerves, disc, joints and muscles of your spine and identify any damaged areas.
- CT Scans
- MRI Scans
Slipped disc if not treated can cause a lot of damage to your spine
An untreated, slip disc can lead to permanent nerve damage. In some cases, a slip disc can cut off nerve function leading to the cauda equina syndrome in your lower back and legs. If this occurs, you may lose bowel or bladder control, which means no control over passing urine or stools. In further advanced cases, the slip disc presses nerves and causes you to lose sensation in your inner thighs, the back of your legs, and around your rectum. Treatment of slipped disc is important and must be taken as soon as possible.
Slipped Disc Treatment
While it may be appealing to refrain from all physical activity while you’re experiencing the pain or discomfort of a slip disc, this can lead to muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Instead, try to remain as active as possible through stretching or low-effort activities such as walking. Initially physiotherapy or exercises for slip disc may provide symptom relief but it is important to take appropriate treatment for slip disc cure as early as possible.
You need to call slip disc specialist:
- If physiotherapy and slip disc exercises are not benefitting within 3 – 6 weeks or
- If slip disc exercises are giving more pain or
- If pain is coming back again and again or
- If duration of pain is more than 6 – 12 weeks with or without physiotherapy and back or neck exercises
Interventional Pain and Spine Centre, Delhi, India, with its branches (contact) at Rohini, Ashok Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Pitampura, Dwarka, Paschim Vihar (Delhi) and Rohtak (Haryana) is the most advanced spine clinic to treat slip disc without any major surgery and with minimally invasive, pinhole techniques. You can meet the best spine specialist in Delhi at our centre.
To know about the most advanced, state-of-the-art and revolutionary treatments offered by our specialists, please click the following links:
- Percutaneous disc treatments
- Radiofrequency ablation
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To know the benefits of these latest and safest techniques, click on FAQ’s.