Each disc of the spine has a soft center in it. As the spine degenerates, whether from age or injury, the softer part can rupture, or herniate, through the outer shell of the disc. This is what is referred to as a herniated disc.
Disc herniation commonly occurs in the lumbar, lower back, region because this area consistently absorbs the impact of the weight of the upper body, which bears down on it. Throughout the day, you use your lower back in practically every one of your body’s movements.
The symptoms of a herniated disc change depending on the level of the spine where it occurs as well as whether the nerve tissue has been irritated. Disc herniation might cause local pain or no symptoms at all, so it’s not always an easy condition to notice right away. In cases where the disc herniation is large, it can put pressure on the nerves, which can cause Sciatica. Sciatica refers to a shooting pain through a nerve and typically only occurs on one side of the body. In cases of sciatica, pain shoots from the disc and down through the leg, worsening as you stand and alleviating as you lie down. This can also be associated with numbness and tingling through the leg.
In more severe cases where the disc herniation is far larger, the herniated disc can put pressure on spinal nerves on both sides of the body. This generally results in severe pain in one or both lower limbs. It can also cause weakness and even loss of bowel or bladder control.
The symptoms of disc herniation are quite similar to other spinal conditions, so diagnosing it requires a thorough examination by a skilled orthopedic surgeon. At Trinity Spine and Orthopedics in Fort Worth, our doctors are skilled at diagnosing and treating a number of different spinal conditions. We will work with you to find the true source of your pain and design a treatment plan that works for you and will relieve your pain.