About the disease
A herniated disc is when the disc located between the vertebrae in the spinal column ruptures. It is also known as a slipped disc, as the herniated disc protrudes through the tear between the vertebrae. Usually, a herniated disc occurs if the fibrous ring has shifted or ruptured. Most commonly, herniation develops in the lower back, as this is the most mobile part of the spine. A herniated disc can also develop in the lumbar or cervical regions. In most cases, the symptoms of a herniated disc subside within six weeks after the initial injury, but there is a period of remission while the area remains delicate and prone to further problems.
A herniated disc is usually caused by disc tear, back injury or professional weightlifting. It can also develop as a result of gradual disc degeneration, which tends to develop in people older than 60 and in people who lead an extremely sedentary lifestyle. It happens because the discs become dehydrated and lose their useful nutrients over time, resulting in them being less flexible and more susceptible to different kinds of ruptures. As such, a herniated disc injury can occur as a consequence of a serious fall. Overall, men are more likely to suffer from a herniated disc.
- Pain in area of affected disc
- Tingling feeling
- Decreased sensitivity in both legs
- High blood pressure
- Numbness in fingers
- The most common diagnostic measures are an MRI scan or a multisided computed tomography (MSCT).
- In order to diagnose a herniated disc, the doctor also needs to conduct a test on the nerve endings.
- An X-ray of the spine can find out if there are any other fractures or tears which could be causing the pain.
- The main method of conservative treatment is a systemic anti-inflammatory therapy using anti-inflammatory drugs. This is accompanied by several sessions of physiotherapy.
- A laminectomy is a surgical procedure, whereby the herniated disc is removed as a foreign body. A surgical microscope is used to remove the herniated disc in a less invasive way than open surgery.
- An endoscopic nucleotomy is also a minimally surgical procedure that aims to remove a herniated disc.
- A discectomy with intervertebral disc replacement prosthesis is an open surgical procedure whereby the surgeon removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a prosthetic, in order to normalize the anatomic structure of the spine.