What is a herniated or bulging disc?

A herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc, ruptured disc, or pinched disc is one of the most common causes of back pain. Although a herniated disc most often occurs in the back it can be a source of pain in the neck, as well as a cause for sciatica (leg pain).

A spinal disc is the rubbery cushion between your vertebrae that make up your back and neck. A herniated disc occurs when the soft jelly-like center of a spinal disc tears or breaks through the the outer wall of the disc.

Think of your disc as a jelly donut which has a soft center surrounded by a tougher outer core. A weakening or tear in the outer core allows some of the jelly-like center to slip out. As it pushes on nearby nerves it can cause a significant amount of pain in the back or neck depending upon the location of the disc herniation.

What Causes a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc can be caused by years of wear and tear on your disc or an injury such as a slip and fall or auto accident. Due to a weakening in the disc wall, certain motions such as bending or twisting, or lifting a heavy object can cause a disc to herniate.

Due to the increased weight the discs must support, being overweight can also increase risk of a herniated disc.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people 35-45 years old and up are more likely to suffer with a herniated disc because of the loss of protective water content as you age making the disc less flexible and more prone to strain.

What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc can occur either in the back or neck. A disc herniation in the back may effect your legs or feet whereas a herniated or bulging disc in the neck may affect the arms or hands. The pain most often occurs on one side of the body.

  • Symptoms of a herniated or bulging disc include:
  • Back pain or neck pain
  • Numbness & tingling pain in the legs and feet or arms and hands
  • Pain extending down arms and/or legs (Sciatica)
  • Muscle weakness in arm or leg
  • Burning sensations
  • Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
  • Pain when bending backward
  • Tenderness in the spine or spinal muscles

Herniated disc treatment

Luckily, in most cases, disc problems such as a herniated disc can easily be treated without neck or back surgery, injections or addictive medications which can often cause more pain and lengthy recovery time.

Non-invasive chiropractic treatments such as spinal decompression have been demonstrated to be a safe and effective treatment for herniated discs.

If you suffer from a herniated disc please call the office to schedule a consultation with

Dr. Nicholas LaHood at 858-486-1222.