Today I’m writing about herniated discs. Maybe you’ve heard the term before, but perhaps you don’t know exactly what it means. What exactly are the symptoms of a herniated disc anyway?

What is the difference between a herniated disc and a bulging disc?

Both conditions start the same way. The discs in your spine are composed of a thick outer layer and a soft and gel-like inner layer. A bulging disc happens when there is pressure placed on the disc and the inner layer starts to cause the outer layer to bulge outward. A herniated disc occurs when the inner layer not only bulges outward, but actually pushes through the thick outer layer.

A herniated disc is much more serious than a bulging disc because the outer layer of the disc has actually ruptured. Not only is this not easily reversible, but the inner layer of your disc contains an acidic substance that can irritate surrounding tissues and cause added pain.

What causes a herniated disc?

There are quite a few things that could cause a disc to rupture. Sometimes a sudden or intense injury could result in disc herniation like a fall or other traumatic injury. But more often than not it is the result of continued or repeated stress over a period of time.

Maybe you haven’t been in the habit of lifting heavy objects properly (remember that old saying: lift from the knees with ease?). Maybe you’ve just had bad posture for too many years without doing anything about it. Or maybe could be something else entirely. Constant pressure applied over a long period of time can eventually cause your discs to herniate.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

A disc herniation may or may not put pressure on the nerves of the spine. If it does not, then you may only experience a back ache or perhaps no symptoms at all.

But more often than not, the herniation will put pressure on the spinal nerves. When this happens things like Sciatica become quite common. Sciatica is the result of pressure on the Sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs and feet. You can tell you’re suffering from sciatica if you have any sort of leg, buttocks, or lower back pain. The pain could be dull or quite intense. Sometimes you may not experience pain at all, but a numbness or tingling feeling instead like if your leg was asleep.

In extreme cases the pain may become so intense that muscle weakness occurs in one or both legs. This is the result of a large amount of pressure and inflammation around your nerves.

A herniated disc is nothing to mess around with. If you’re suffering from a herniated disc, then be sure to seek advice from a qualified medical professional. In most cases surgical treatment isn’t necessary, but if non-surgical approaches do not help to improve your situation, surgery may be required to help you regain an acceptable quality of living.

Author's Bio: 

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Leroy Lombard used to suffer from sciatica brought on by Piriformis Syndrome. After studying the causes and cures for sciatic nerve pain and finding lasting relief himself, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.