DEFINE – What is a Slipped Disc?
A slipped disc, also known as a herniated or prolapsed disc, is where an intervertebral disc is protruding through the outer ring.
BREAKING DOWN – Slipped Disc
The spine is a very complex structure made up of multiple vertebrae. In between these vertebrae are intervertebral discs. These discs act as cushions and shock-absorbers for the spine. However, with time, these discs can deteriorate. They can also slip out of place through improper movement, such as lifting a heavy object incorrectly.
Further, excess weight can put more pressure on the spine and back, causing a disc to slip out of place. Sedentary behaviour or muscle imbalances or weaknesses may also contribute to a slipped disc.
In some cases, the disc may press on a spinal nerve leading to numbness or tingling sensations in the body (often down the legs and buttocks).
Other symptoms of a slipped disc may include pain that gets worse with certain activities, pain that gets worse when you sit or stand, pain when walking, muscle weakness, and tingling or burning sensations in or around the affected area. Depending on your exact situation, symptoms may vary.
Frequently, a slipped disc is properly diagnosed through a physical exam by your doctor and potentially image testing. If you have any symptoms of a slipped disc or think you may have a slipped disc, get it checked out. Complications can arise later on down the road, including permanent nerve damage or loss of bladder or bowel control. However, this does not happen in most cases.
Typically, conservative and non-invasive treatment is explored first. Frequently, a rehab exercise program under the supervision of a physiotherapist can help most individuals overcome the symptoms associated with a slipped disc. Learning proper lifting techniques can further help prevent aggravation or recurrence in the future. In addition, massage can help you cope with your pain.
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