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What is a Herniated Disc?

What is a Herniated Disc?


A herniated disc, also know as a slipped disc, is a condition that causes back pain, nerve irritation and muscle weakness or numbness in different areas of the body. With the right treatment, an individual suffering from it will be able to manage their pain relief. Also, learn how to condition their bodies against further injury.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc occurs when there is a rupture in one of the discs. Between the vertebrae that make up the spine. Each disc is made up of two component parts – a soft inner part and a tougher outer ring. Sometimes, a back injury or weakness can cause the inner part of the disc to protrude out through the tough outer ring resulting in a one.

Once a herniated disc occurs, it tends to cause irritation to any nearby nerves in the back. This results in pain and discomfort for individuals. However, there have been cases where individuals have shown no symptoms of a herniated disc at all.

The most common signs of a herniated disc include:

  • Arm or leg pain: If it occurs in your lower back, it is common to feel pain in your buttocks, thighs and calf. This pain may also radiate down into your foot. If the it is closer to your neck, the pain will typically be most intense in the shoulder and arm.
  • Numbness or tingling: It is common for those suffering with a herniated disc to experience numbness. Also tingling in certain parts of the body that may be innverated by irritated neural tissue.
  • Weakness: If the herniated disc affects any nerves, it is also normal for individuals to experience muscle weakness in the muscles innervated by those nerves. This may affect specific movements of your upper or lower limb.

The most common location for a herniated disc to occur is between the fourth and fifth vertebrae of the lumbar spine. This is located in the lower back. Although this condition is most commonly an age related issue or due to an injury, there are many other factors that could increase your risk of developing one. These include your weight, occupation and your genetics.

What Treatments Can Be Used to Help?

If you think that you may be suffering from one it is important that you seek professional help. If left untreated, if severe enough, can often lead to permanent nerve damage.

Treatment for a herniated disc depends on the severity of the condition. In severe cases, surgery may be required but for the most part physiotherapy is sufficient in providing immediate pain relief. Also, providing you with techniques to condition your body against further injury.

Your physiotherapist may use techniques such as deep tissue massage, dry needling, hot and cold therapy, and taping to help relieve pain in the affected area. You may also be given a physiotherapy exercise program to help address any flexibility, posture, strength and core stability issues caused by the herniated disc. These exercises are designed to ensure that the affected area regains strength and ensures that no further injuries occur.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our chartered physiotherapists are experiencing in treating a multitude of back related conditions. If you would like to book an appointment or have any questions, you can contact us here.

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