A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc bulges outward.
Though far more frequent in the lumbar region (lower back), herniated discs can also be diagnosed in the cervical and thoracic regions.
Disc impairment can be categorized in 3 stages:
· Bulging disc: the disc’s contents (its nucleus) has migrated outward and is pushing against the outer wall;
· Protrusion: the nucleus has “torn” through the outer wall and has begun to protrude;
· Disc herniation: the disc’s outer wall has ruptured and a portion of its contents has been expelled. Hernia can occur in the vertebral canal or at the sides (foramens) where the nerve roots are located.
Disc herniation occurs following intense effort against resistance, generally when bent forward or during torsion. It may also occur following trauma. Finally, wear and tear due to repetitive movement or poor posture can also cause disc lesions.
In addition to pain at the site of the injury, referred or radiating pain can affect the buttocks, legs, arms or ribs depending primarily upon the hernia’s level (i.e.: which vertebra is affected).
If nerve root compression occurs, numbness (decrease or loss of sensation), tingling and/or a loss of muscular strength may be observed.
General back pain treatment applies. Depending upon signs and symptoms, certain specific treatments might apply, such as manual traction to decompress the disc segment, neural