Herniated Disk

Also called: Bulging disk, Compressed disk, Herniated intervertebral disk, Herniated nucleus pulposus, Prolapsed disk, Ruptured disk, Slipped disk

Your backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between them are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. As you age, the disks break down or degenerate. As they do, they lose their cushioning ability. This can lead to pain if the back is stressed.

A herniated disk is a disk that ruptures. This allows the jelly-like center of the disk to leak, irritating the nearby nerves. This can cause sciatica or back pain.

Your doctor will diagnose a herniated disk with a physical exam and, sometimes, imaging tests. With treatment, most people recover. Treatments include rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Symptoms of Herniated Disk

The following features are indicative of Herniated Disk:
  • arm pain
  • leg pain
  • numbness or tingling
  • weakness
It is possible that Herniated Disk shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Herniated Disk

The following are the most common causes of Herniated Disk:
  • disk degeneration
  • heavy weight lifting
  • fall or a blow to the back

Risk Factors for Herniated Disk

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Herniated Disk:
  • excess body weight
  • genetic factor

Prevention of Herniated Disk

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Herniated Disk. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • emphasizing not lifting beyond one's capabilities
  • maintaining proper posture and alignment
  • enhance back strength by exercising

Occurrence of Herniated Disk

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Herniated Disk cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Herniated Disk most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Herniated Disk can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Herniated Disk

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Herniated Disk:
  • X-rays: To rule out other causes of back pain
  • Computerized tomography: To create cross-sectional images of the spinal column and the structures
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To confirm the location of the herniated disk and to see which nerves are affected.
  • Myelogram: To see the pressure on the spinal cord or nerves
  • Nerve tests: To measure how well electrical impulses are moving along nerve tissue

Doctor for Diagnosis of Herniated Disk

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Herniated Disk:
  • Neurologist
  • Orthopedician
  • Neurosurgeon

Complications of Herniated Disk if untreated

Yes, Herniated Disk causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Herniated Disk is left untreated:
  • bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • saddle anesthesia

Procedures for Treatment of Herniated Disk

The following procedures are used to treat Herniated Disk:
  • Physical therapy: Minimizes the pain of a herniated disk
  • Diskectomy: Removes the protruding portion of the disk

Self-care for Herniated Disk

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Herniated Disk:
  • Exercise regularly: Strengthens the trunk muscles
  • Sit or stand in good posture: Reduces the pressure on the spine and disks
  • Maintain healthy weight

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Herniated Disk

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Herniated Disk:
  • Get chiropractic treatment: Provides relief from pain
  • Acupuncture: Eases the chronic back and neck pain
  • Get back massage: Provide short-term relief to people dealing with chronic low-back pain
  • Do yoga: Improves function and relieve chronic back pain

Time for Treatment of Herniated Disk

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Herniated Disk to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Is Herniated Disk Infectious?

Yes, Herniated Disk is known to be infectious.

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Herniated Disk.

Related Topics

Back Pain

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