A sudden, violent “shooting” pain or dull back pain may indicate a herniated disc. A very unpleasant matter, which can also cause a lengthy treatment.
What is a herniated disc actually?
The inter-vertebral discs provide the mobility of the spine and act as a buffer between the vertebrae. They consist of an elastic ring of fibrous connective tissue – the fiber ring – and a soft core of gelatinous fluid – the gelatinous core, which acts as a kind of gel cushion. With increasing age, the water content and thus the elasticity of the inter-vertebral disc decreases. At the same time the probability increases that the fiber ring gets small cracks. The gelatinous core can bulge outward, break through the fiber ring and press on nerves. If this happens, it is called a herniated disc.
Causes, Symptoms and Therapy:
Triggering factors are often obesity, poor posture and heavy physical work. Jerky movements and sports in which the spine is shaken or twisted in itself may also favor a herniated disc. Likewise a pregnancy or a plant-related weakness of the connective tissue. Insufficiently trained abdominal, back and buttock muscles also increase the development of disc damage, because the spine is poorly supported.
A herniated disc often causes severe back or neck pain that can radiate into the legs or arms, depending on where the incident is. Especially under stress, the pain occurs suddenly and often very strong, the muscles are often hardened in the affected area. If the lumbar spine is affected, the pain may radiate into the buttocks or leg. In the neck area he spreads mostly in the arm, hand or back of the head. Occasionally you will notice a tingling sensation in the leg or arm or hand. In extreme cases, a cross-sectional syndrome with paralysis and sensory loss may occur.
In most cases, herniated discs are treated “conservatively”, ie without surgery. These include above all exercise, relaxation and relief, analgesic or locally anesthetic drugs as well as manual and physical therapies. Studies have shown that it is better to stay active instead of keeping bed rest. For prolonged pain surgery may be considered to relieve the affected nerve. However, according to most experts, more intervertebral disk surgeries are performed than necessary in Germany – especially among working men who fear that they will no longer be able to practice their profession. A second opinion may therefore be useful if one is unsure if this is the right option.