By Dr. B V R N Varma, Orthopaedics
Also called slip discs or ruptured discs, herniated discs refer to those problems involving the protrusion of spinal discs through cracks in the tough exterior. They can cause much irritation in the nerves and could amount to excessive pain or numbness in the corresponding leg or arm.
There is much ambiguity and uncertainty with regards to the symptoms of herniated discs. In fact, there have been a lot of cases where there were indications of disc problems that appeared on spinal images of people who hardly suffer from any pain whatsoever.
However, here are a few symptoms which may suggest the presence of herniated discs:-
• Numbness or tingling in the areas surrounding the affected nerves
• Herniated discs in your lower back will cause the most pain near your thighs, buttocks and calves
• Herniated discs in the neck region will typically affect your shoulder blades and arms
• You will most probably feel a sense of weakness in the muscles associated with the corresponding affected nerves
Causes - The problem of disc herniation is usually the aftermath of a gradual, age-related degeneration of the spinal discs. As one ages, there is a gradual loss of water content in the discs, thereby making them less flexible and more vulnerable to tearing and rupturing at the slightest strain.
Although the exact cause of disc herniation cannot be possibly identified, the most common cause is lifting heavy objects that put insurmountable pressure on your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles. Furthermore, twisting and turning while lifting can also cause a mishap. These causes are more likely to inflict disc damage than traumatic incidents like falling from a good height or even receiving a vicious blow to the back.