Herniated Disc Pain Relief or Bulging Disc Pain

Also known as: Protruding disc, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, pinched nerve, herniated intervertebral disc, prolapsed intervertebral disc, ruptured disc, slipped disc, degenerative disc, extruded disc, and annular tears.

Herniated Disc Information

Definition: A herniated, protruding, or bulging disc occurs when the tough outer fibers of disc weaken and sometimes tear causing a bulging or protrusion of the wall of the disc into the spinal canal. In severe disc herniations, also known as disc extrusions, the inner jelly-like center of the disc or fragments of the disc wall may be expelled into the spinal canal resulting in nerve root or even spinal cord compression and injury.

Overview: The spinal column provides support and movement for the body and protects the spinal cord and nerves that exit from the skull to travel down the back. The vertebrae are circular bones that form the spinal column which run down the back connecting the skull to the pelvis. Intervertebral discs are tough ligamentous structures with a soft jelly-like center that separate the vertebral bodies and provide cushioning like many shock absorbers to the spine, spinal cord and brain. The spinal column is separated into four parts, the cervical spine (or neck area), the thoracic spine (runs along the back of the chest) and the lumbar spine (lower back) and the sacral spine (becomes a part of the pelvis). Interertebral discs are located between the vertebrae of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.

You are never too young or too old to suffer with severe disc pain
Intervertebral discs may be damaged as a result of an acute injury or a gradual deterioration of the disc by repetitive trauma or the effects of aging. Most of the pain due to disc injuries involves irritation or compression of the spinal nerve roots that lay next to the discs. Any disc at any of the vertebral levels may be damaged. Lumbar disc injuries are the most common and occur 15 times more often than cervical disc injuries. Only 8% of disc injuries occur in the neck and 1 to 2 % of these injuries occur in the thoracic spine. Disc injuries can occur in anybody, male or female, at any age, young or old. The pain associated with disc injuries may range from mild to severe but frequently result in severe disabling pain and loss of function.

Surgery is no guarantee
While most physicians believe that disc injuries may heal spontaneously, this recovery process may require weeks or many months. Surgery may be required when the excruciating pain does not resolve or when severe nerve damage is evident. However, even with the best surgeon, surgery is not always successful and in many cases, the patient’s condition worsens.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

Herniated Lumbar Disc

  • Moderate to severe low back pain
  • Constant or shooting pain radiating to the buttocks, legs, ankles, and feet
  • Pain aggravated by laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting, or bowel movements
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Weakness and atrophy of muscles of the legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Testicular pain in males
  • Pain may occur on only one side or may occur on both sides

  • Herniated Cervical Disc

  • Moderate to severe pain in the neck, usually in the back and sides of the neck
  • Moderate to severe, deep pain over the shoulder blades and upper back
  • Rain radiating to the shoulders, upper arm, forearm, hands and fingers
  • Headaches
  • Pain is aggravated when turning head to the side, or bending the neck forward or backward

  • Neck muscle spasms
  • Numbness or tingling of the arms, hands or fingers
  • Weakness and atrophy of the arm or hand muscles

  • Herniated Thoracic disc

  • Moderate to severe mid and even lower back pain
  • Pain radiating into the front of the chest or abdominal area
  • Pain increased with deep breathing or coughing

  • Treatments for Herniated Disc

    The usual treatments are often too much, frequently too dangerous and rarely enough. The standard treatments for pain due to disc injury are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription narcotic and non-narcotic medication, rest, physical therapy, steroid injections, and traction. As most patients who suffer with this type of pain soon realize, these treatments are usually not sufficient and many, especially the oral medications, are associated with serious side effects such as sedation, nausea, constipation, and even addiction. Extended use of some medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen may even result in stomach ulcers, kidney failure, heart failure, and liver failure. Many sufferers with disc related pain often search for alternative solutions to the usual over-the-counter and prescription medications.

    Sudden severe pain, especially in the chest, arms, or head, pain associated with fever, numbness or weakness, or pain in any area of the body that does not resolve after a couple of weeks, should always be evaluated by a physician to be certain that other medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, infections, or even cancer is not the underlying cause of pain.

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