Disc herniation occurs when the disc’s exterior wall becomes compromised, tears or ruptures. The interior matter of the disc escapes and causes pressure to be placed on nerves and the spinal cord, causing discomfort in and around the area of herniation.
Cervical discs (the neck) and lumbar discs (the lower back) are more likely to herniate over thoracic discs (the middle back) because thoracic discs are given more stability and support from the attached rib cage.
Because of the pressure the herniated disc creates, patients may experience a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, tingling or a numb sensation. If the herniation is particularly severe or poorly placed, it can create more serious problems that require immediate repair. If the condition is diagnosed early, medical care may begin with non-surgical options and monitoring.
With proper treatment, herniated discs can be successfully treated in various stages of herniation; however, early detection is important in avoiding the need for surgery. If you’re experiencing acute, persistent pain or any of the aforementioned symptoms often associated with herniated discs, it’s important you promptly seek medical advice.