Herniated disc pain can make your life miserable. Whether it’s neck pain from a cervical disc herniation, or low back pain from a herniated lumbar disc, your quality of life is diminished. Learning to recognize the symptoms of herniated discs will help you seek treatment sooner and get on the road to recovery.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Your spinal discs, found between each vertebrae, are made up of two parts, the annulus and the nucleus. Think of the nucleus as the filling in a jelly donut, and the annulus as the donut itself, only this donut is very tough and flexible. Sometimes, due to degeneration or trauma, the annulus fibers weaken in spots and the nucleus pushes out into the annulus. This causes several things to happen:
- Your disc spreads out and gets flatter because the nucleus has seeped out of the center.
- Your disc may bulge where the nucleus has spread.
- The bulge may push against spinal cord or nerves, causing leg and back pain.
If the bulge is intact, this type of herniated disc is known as a bulging disc. This bulge causes many of the symptoms of a herniated disc. The bulging disc may stay intact, or it may rupture, allowing nucleus material to enter the body. A ruptured herniated disc may bring herniated disc pain to a new level. The nerves, facet joints, and other parts of the spinal column may inflame due to the presence of this material. The disc herniation symptoms may increase or remain the same, depending upon your genetics.