Your spine is a remarkable column that provides the primary support for your body. But most people don’t appreciate their spines until something goes wrong that causes pain.
The spine consists of 33 vertebrae separated by pillowy cushions known as discs. The exterior of these discs is hard, but the center is soft like a jelly doughnut. These discs give your spine its flexibility and help it absorb shock from running, walking, and lifting.
When a disc becomes herniated, the soft inner portion bulges out of the hard exterior, pressing against sensitive nerves. Left untreated, this injury, AKA a “slipped disc,” can cause serious complications and severe pain.
A herniated disc should be treated early on. Here are the top signs of a herniated disc, according to our spine health experts at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates in Daly City, California.
Signs of a herniated disc
Here are common warning signs of a herniated disc.
- Pain walking
- Pain that worsens after sitting
- Pain that worsens after sleeping
- Weakness in legs
- Numbness or pain down one side of your body
- Pain shooting down your leg
- Tingling in hips and legs
If you have any of these persistent symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
Here’s what causes a herniated disc
Understanding the causes of a herniated disc can help you spot, and perhaps prevent, the condition.
In most cases, the wear-and-tear of aging causes herniated discs. That’s because spinal discs lose their protective water content as you age.
Other causes of herniated discs include:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Performing a physically demanding job or lifestyle
- Sudden turning or twisting your spine.
- Maintaining extra weight
How to treat a herniated disc
A herniated disc should be treated immediately. Who wants to live with pain?
Our spine health experts can diagnose the condition after performing a comprehensive exam and medical history.
For many patients, conservative therapies can relieve a herniated disc pain quickly, in days or a few weeks. These therapies include:
- Avoiding uncomfortable or painful positions and activities
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Performing gentle exercise
- Using prescription oral anti-inflammatories
If your pain doesn’t improve with conservative therapy, your spine doctor might recommend further steps, such as physical therapy, spinal cortisone injections, or surgery.
If you have signs of a herniated disc, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates by using our online booking tool.