When one of the cartilaginous discs in the spine moves out of its designated place between the vertebrae, it is referred to as a slipped, ruptured, or herniated disc. Any part of the spine can experience a herniated disc, as these cartilaginous discs are in the junction between all of the vertebrae. Herniated discs most often occur in the lumbar or lower spine and the neck or cervical spine. Symptoms can vary from one patient to the next, depending on the location and severity of the herniated disc. A patient's symptoms are minimal and mild when the herniated disc does not cause any of the neighboring nerves to become compressed. Symptoms include numbness, pain, and weakness in the affected area when the herniated disc causes a neighboring nerve to become compressed.
There are multiple causes and potential complications of a herniated disc. Learn about them now.
An individual affected by disc degeneration in their spine may experience a herniated disc as a complication of the normal changes that take place in these tissues as they age. All individuals' spinal discs degenerate as they get older, but not everyone experiences pain as a result of this process. The discs in the spine are comprised of mostly water when individuals are born. As they get older, the discs in the spine lose this water and can dry out. Dried out spinal discs have a greater tendency to slip out of place, crack, and break into fragments. Dried out spinal discs that are degenerating make the spine lose stability, putting individuals at greater susceptibility to the complication of a herniated disc. Spinal discs can experience degeneration when the hard outer layer develops cracks or fissures that allow the soft inner core to leak out. This causes the disc to become too thin and lose its ability to cushion the vertebrae or act as shock absorbers. This type of disc degeneration is also known to produce a herniated disc.
Continue reading to reveal more causes and complications linked to a herniated disc now.