KKT Orthopedic Spine Center

Educate yourself and learn more about your complication

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by small oval pads of cartilage and disc. These consist of a tough outer layer (annulus) and a soft inner layer (nucleus). A herniated disc, sometimes called a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when a small portion of the nucleus pulposus pushes out through a tear in the annulus into the spinal canal. This can irritate nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in the back, legs or arms. In some  it can even put pressure on the spinal cord resulting in more advanced symptoms.

Many sufferers report back pain which radiates down the leg or arm, making everyday activities difficult or even intolerable.

Signs of Potential Concern

  • A radiating, aching pain, sometimes with tingling and numbness, that starts in your buttock and extends down the back or side of leg
  • Pain, numbness or weakness in your lower back and one leg. Tingling pain, numbness or weakness in your neck, shoulder, chest or arm
  • Lower backpain or leg pain that worsens when you sit, tough or sneeze
  • Arm, shoulder or finger symptoms that worsen when you sit, cough or sneeze

Care for Herniated Disc

A person with a herniated disc should not bend, strain or lift heavy objects. While sleeping, use a firm mattress or a pillow under the waist and one under the shoulder if sleeping on the side. If you sleep on your back, a pillow should be placed under the knees.

Changing your sitting position can also help. Put your feet on a low stool to flatten the back against the back of the chair or adjust your chair so it tilts forward. Herniated discs are commonly triggered in people between 30 and 40 years of age. People who spend a lot of time sitting or those who twist their back a lot, are the most likely to develop a herniated disc.

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