What is it?

Displacement of an intervertebral disc (disc herniation) refers to protrusion or herniation of the disc between two adjacent bones (vertebrae) of the spine. The discs are jelly-textured structures that act as shock absorbers. Their unique texture makes them prone to herniation, which may cause irritation to the adjacent spinal nerve and lead to pain, numbness or weakness in the back and hand or foot area, depending on the location of the herniated disc. In most cases a herniated disc is the result of a gradual degeneration of the discs that occurs with age.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Cervical disc herniation
- DDD
- bulging discs
- bulging disc
- Schmorl's Nodes
- Postlaminectomy Syndrome
- Cervical Disc Displacement
- Thoracic or Lumbar Disc Displacement

Signs & symptoms

The most common symptoms are lumbar or neck pain, depending on the location of the herniation, which increase when sitting and walking and are relieved when lying down. The pain can radiate to the limb (arm or leg). In rare cases, a herniated disc can damage a spinal area called the cauda equina and cause dangerous condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms appear: a sharp increase in the level of pain, lack of control of the bladder or intestines, or numbness in the form of a horse saddle (face of the thighs, back of the legs and buttocks).

Diagnosis

In most cases of a herniated disc, a physical examination is all that the doctor treating you will need in order to give a diagnosis. In most cases, the diagnosis will be confirmed by imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans.

Treatment

The treatment for a herniated disc is usually conservative (non-surgical) and most people will experience an improvement in their condition within one to two months. A small percentage of people will eventually need surgery. Conservative treatment includes:
- stay as active as possible (you should not stay in bed or rest too long)
- physiotherapy
- Pain relief in various methods (for example, muscle relaxants or injections of medicines that numb the back)

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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