A slipped disc is an unfortunate disorder that is suffered by many people; as much as 1 out of 8 Americans. Things such as strenuous activity, excessive lifting and even old age cause slipped discs. Sometimes it is caused by simply bending the wrong way, like not bending from the hips. Applying pressure to the spinal can cause a disc to “slip.” However, in truth, a disc in the spine does not slip. The discs in the spine are aligned and do not slip out of place.
The term “slipped disc” refers to the rupturing or splitting of a disc in the spine. This causes the cartilage of the disc to fail, and the inner gel-like substance located within the disc leaks out into the tissue surrounding the disc. This gel-like substance puts pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerves, causing pain. A slipped disc can occur anywhere on the spinal cord, from the lower back to the neck.
The most common slipped disc symptom is pain. Pain can occur in the area of the nerve that exits the spine were the disc is ruptured. If the ruptured disc is in the neck, the pain can occur in the neck, arms, shoulders, or hand. Another slipped disc symptom is numbness or tingling around the area of the ruptured disc. The numbness and tingling can occur in the same areas as the pain. If the injured disc is in the lower back, the pain will be felt from the buttocks to the knees and lower. There will be numbness in those areas as well. However, the pain will not only occur in the limbs and near the spine.
People with a slipped disc can also experience pain when doing things like coughing, sneezing, or strenuous activity. People suffering from a slipped disc can also have trouble urinating and with bowel movements. Pain in the genital area and anus can occur also. Aside from the pain, slipped disc symptoms also include weakness, digestive problems, headache, or even sexual organ dysfunction. In addition, the afflicted can have trouble walking or standing as a result of the weakness in the legs. There can be complete numbness in the area below the slipped disc; this results in a paralysis of shorts.
Despite the problem being in one small area, slipped disc symptoms can be felt throughout the body. If pain is the main symptom this can be remedied by the use of over the counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen. Ice and hot water packs are alternative relievers for the pain. A minor case of a slipped disc is treatable at home. More severe cases will need professional medical treatment. The patient can also get prescribed medication to relieve the pain and other symptoms. Another way to relieve slipped disc symptoms is daily massaging and exercise.
In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend surgery. After surgery, physical therapy and regular exercise will help the patient recover thoroughly. In majority of cases of a slipped disc, the symptoms are relieved over time.