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Herniated Disc Pain
A herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a pinched nerve or bulging disc, occurs when an outer portion of a spinal disc ruptures causing the inner fluid of the disc to leak out or bulge out of the outer layer of the disc. A herniated disc can cause pressure on nerves resulting in pain. Herniated discs are diagnosed through various diagnosis tests using imaging technology such as CT scans (computerized tomography) with myelograms, MRI scans (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and EMG (electromyography).
Herniated discs may occur due to degenerative disc disease, a normal degenerative condition brought on by aging where your discs grow weaker and flatter with age.
Many herniated discs may heal on their own with proper resting of the spine and pressure reduction on the area of the spine containing the herniated disc. However, in cases of severe pain or serious pressure on nerves such as the spinal cord, surgery may be needed. Always check with a doctor before attempting to treat it yourself.
Locations and symptoms of herniated discs
Herniated discs can occur throughout all areas of the spine, but are most common in the lumbar region of the spine.
Cervical herniated discs
Cervical herniated discs occur within the vertebrae surrounding the neck. Cervical herniated discs are most common in those between the ages of 30 – 50 and depending on which cervical disc herniates, the symptoms can vary widely.
Symptoms of a cervical herniated disc include:
- Shoulder pain and weakness at the top of the upper arm (disc between the C4-C5 vertebrae).
- Weakness in the biceps or the wrist with possibly radiating pain to the hand or thumb (disc between the C5-C6 vertebrae).
- Weakness in the triceps and the fingers with possible numbness and tingling radiating to the middle finger (disc between the C6-C7 vertebrae).
- Handgrip weakness and a radiating pain down the arm to the pinky finger (disc between the C7-T1 Vertebrae).
Thoracic herniated discs
A thoracic herniated disc occurs within the thoracic region of the spine and is the least likely to cause pain. Many patients can go on without any symptoms yet find that they have a herniated disc or disc abnormality. Thoracic herniated discs are the least commonly diagnosed herniated disc due to how unlikely it is for a patient to experience symptoms.
Symptoms of a thoracic herniated disc include:
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Pain radiating into the chest or abdomen
- Loss of bowel or bladder control (myelopathy)
Lumbar herniated discs
A lumbar herniated disc occurs in the lumbar discs and can cause different symptoms depending on the disc that is herniated.
Symptoms of a lumbar herniated disc include:
- Weakness in extending the big toe and sometimes the ankle. Possible numbness and pain at the top of the foot radiating towards the buttocks (disc between the L4-L5 vertebrae).
- Loss of ankle reflexes, or weakness in pushing off from the ankle. Possible numbness and pain radiating to the sole of the foot (disc between the L5 – S1 vertebrae).
- Sciatica pain
Causes of pain due to a herniated disc
Radicular pain (pinched nerve)
Pinched nerves, referred to as radicular pain, occur when the herniated disc itself is not painful, but the material leaking out of the disc is putting pressure on, or pinching a nearby nerve. This type of pain is characterized by radiating pain throughout the body such as sciatica pain caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar region.
Disc pain (degenerative disc disease)
Pain may also originate from the disc itself. Referred to as a degenerative disc , this cause of pain results in low back pain or leg pain from the disc itself. But can also cause nerve pain if the disc herniates into a nerve.
The two causes or types of pain above can occur in all three regions of the spine but are most common in the lower back as it bears the most weight and takes the most abuse on a daily basis. Not all herniated discs cause pain or symptoms but they could get worse and cause pain if left unchecked.
How RelaxoBak products can help relieve your pain
RelaxoBak products help align the spine properly while reducing the pressure on the spine by allowing it to float and diverting the pressure of your upper body onto your hip bones and buttocks. RelaxoBak orthopedic seat cushions can help relieve pain you may have while sitting due to degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Our cushions can be used in the car, at home, in the office, and almost anywhere you choose to sit, relieving the pain you feel while sitting.