What is a Herniated Disc

Herniated disc is a condition which affects the spine as a result of trauma or lifting injuries.  Disc herniations are as development of previous protrusion of discs.  This is a condition where the outer layers of annulus fibrosus bulge due to pressure exerted on the disc.  Minor herniations usually heal in a short span of weeks.  The treatment of this condition can be approached with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. These help to relieve the pains that are associated with disc protrusion, herniation, bulging and also disc tear. There are also cases of severe herniations. These are however not a common feature. These may need surgical intervention to treat.  Many people refer to herniated disc as the slipped disc. This term however is not commonly used in the medical field because of accuracy.

Symptoms and signs

The signs and symptoms of herniated disc vary depending on location of herniation.  This also concerns the soft tissues that are involved. A herniated disc can have less pain if at all the disc is the tissue that is injured. Severe, unrelenting back and neck pains may also be experienced.  These would radiate to regions that are affected by the nerve roots.

Herniated disc is not diagnosed almost immediately. This is because patients exhibit different levels of pains in knees, feet and also the thighs.  Some other representations of symptoms would include some changes in senses. These include numbness, paralysis, muscle weakness and a tingling effect around the affected area.  Reflexes may also be affected to some extent. If at all the herniated disc occurs within the lumbar region, sciatica may occur. This is because the disc may be pressing on a sciatic nerve in that region. The pan from a herniated disc is generally constant and mostly targets a certain position of the patient’s body.

You can also have a herniated disc without feeling any pain or rather any noticeable symptoms. This of course depends on the location of the disc.  Typically, the signs of this condition are experienced on a single part of the body. The compression of cauda equine may lead to permanent damage of nerves and also cause paralysis.  Nerve damage in this case may result in loss of bladder control and sexual dysfunction as well.


The main cause of a herniated disc is wear and tear.  This may include doing jobs which require constant standing or sitting.  Herniated disc also occurs from doing activities which need lifting. Lifting things while bent around the waist is a risk factor that may lead to severe effects of a herniated disc.  Chronic back pains and tiredness are some of the indicators of wear and tear that leads to herniation.

Herniation of the disc in the spinal canal occurs when the stomach side is compressed when sitting.  The contents of the nucleus puposus also get pressed against the posterior side of the disc.  The thinning of the membrane and stretching increase internal pressure and then results in the confinement of the membrane.  Herniation may also occur due to genetic or hereditary factors.   Most of the herniations of the spinal disc mainly occur in the lumbar region and the cervical region as well.