Having a ruptured disc can be painful, besides robbing you of being productive the pain can prevent you from enjoying everyday life. Also known as a slipped or herniated disc, a ruptured disc is when the tissue that’s between the spinal vertebrae becomes compressed. As a result, this causes a bulge into the spinal column. In addition to being extremely painful, this condition can lead to nerve damage.
You may be asking yourself how do I know if I have ruptured a disc in my spine? Should I see a doctor? Will I ever play golf again? Ruptured discs can improve on their own but if you find yourself limited in your normal routine then toughing it out is no longer an option.
What is a Ruptured Disc?
Back pain is agony. No matter your age, back pain is an equal opportunity menace. While you may have experienced back pain (or even no symptoms at all) associated with common disc degeneration for decades, how do you know when you have actually ruptured a spinal disc? Ruptured discs are not always the result of disc degeneration, they can also be the result of a sports or work injury. It is important to know the causes as well as the signs and symptoms of a ruptured disc in order to receive the proper medical care to get you moving with ease again.
A ruptured disc is also known as a herniated disc. This occurs when a fragile vertebral disc has basically given up all hope of properly supporting the spine and the inner core of the disc has freed itself from its proper place inside the vertebrae. The inner core of a spinal disc is actually a sort of gel. When a disc ruptures, this gel has leaked out of the outer portion of the disc, a dense fibrous tissue, and consequently become a nuisance to the nerve fibers outside of the inner disc.
A ruptured disc can occur in any part of the spine but is most common in the lumbar (lower) portion of the back. The lower back is the body’s workhorse when it comes to our balance and our weight-bearing. It is no wonder that the lumbar portion of the spine takes so much abuse. We use it for everything from bending to twisting, to jumping for joy!
Symptoms of a Ruptured Disc
No matter which portion of your spine is causing symptoms, it is vitally important that you have your physician address the symptoms immediately. Ruptured discs can lead to permanent damage to your spine. No one wants that! Below are some of the common symptoms of a ruptured disc:
- pain and numbness, usually on one side of the body
- pain that extends to the arms or legs
- pain that gets worse at night or with certain movements
- pain that gets worse after standing or sitting
- pain when walking short distances
- unexplained muscle weakness
- tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, do not ignore them. A severely ruptured disc can lead to permanent nerve damage in the spine. In some extremely rare cases, a group of nerves known as the cauda equina nerves can be damaged and lead to loss of bowel and bladder control. Ruptured discs can be serious so don’t try to tough it out if your symptoms are not responding to rest.
If you are experiencing unrelenting pain and tingling sensations in any part of your spine, contact us. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your symptoms. We take great pride in offering a professional, compassionate, friendly approach to addressing the symptoms of each and every patient. We have on-site diagnostic tools, eliminating the need to visit several locations in order to diagnose your symptoms. In addition, our specialists are highly trained in advanced areas of treatment that often lead to faster recovery times and better outcomes than traditional therapies for ruptured discs.