Disc herniation sounds scary, but what is it really? Remember from Spine Anatomy 101 that the spinal disc is a squishy thing that sits in between the vertebral bodies—the bones that make-up the spine. Normally, the disc has a certain shape, a contour that slowly begins to change as the disc ages. Sometimes, the disc will bulge in a generalized fashion beyond the boundaries of the bones. Disc bulging is very common and normal as the disc gets older. When a disc herniates, a focal part of the disc is displaced beyond the vertebral body boundary. The difference between a bulge and a herniation is the amount of disc that is involved. The tricky part is that both bulges and herniations are found in people who have no pain. Harry works as an accountant. All day long, he sits at his desk working with the computer. One morning, while brushing his teeth, he feels a sudden neck pain with a sharp, lacerating pain screaming down his arm. Later that night, he starts to feel numbness and ting...
A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a spinal disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This places pressure on nearby nerves.
Acute low back pain
Chronic low back pain
Lumbar radiculopathy; Cervical radiculopathy; Herniated intervertebral disk; Prolapsed intervertebral disk; Slipped disk; Ruptured disk; Herniated nucleus pulposus
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column run down the back, connecting the skull to the pelvis. These bones protect nerves that come out of the brain and travel down your back, forming the spinal cord. Nerve roots are large nerves that branch out from the spinal cord and leave your spinal column between each vertebrae.
The spinal vertebrae are separated by disks filled with a soft, gelatinous substance. These disks cushion the spinal colum...
MS CENTRAL QUESTION OF THE WEEK: HOW DO YOU CREATE BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU ARE ALSO THE CAREGIVER? This summer I learned some hard lessons about love, inner strength and endurance. My husband’s herniated disc reared its ugly head the week of my son’s high school graduation. His pain came on gradually and then became excruciatingly unbearable. He lay in bed for almost two months, leaving our bedroom only for medical appointments and physical therapy. Our summer was a disaster. A special vacation of our son’s choosing had to be cancelled. Quality time as a family - going to the movies, eating at our favorite restaurants, spending time “down the shore” (a true New Jersey term!) and taking nature hikes – never happened. I was scheduled to fly to Dallas for a conference with friends I had trained with as a Peer Resource for a pharmaceutical company. My trip was cancelled. As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what h...
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