Slipped Disc: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is a Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc, also known as a herniated disk, happens anywhere in the spinal column and is a common cause of back pain which can radiate down to one or both legs, these condition is commonly called as sciatica. The spinal cord is made up of bones called vertebrae. These bones are separated by tissues, known as intervertebral discs. Any injury or weakness can cause these discs to protrude, bulge, or rupture from the original position to other parts of the spinal cord, exerting pressure on one or more spinal nerves. 

How common is a slipped disc?

Slip disc affects about 5-20 in every 1000 adults annually. It is more common in men than in women and generally affects after 30 years of age. 

What are the causes of Slip Disc?

There are various causes of a slipped disc such as:

  • Normal ageing process

  • Traumatic event

What are the risk factors of Slip Disc?

There are some risk factors for slipped disc:

  • Gender: Men are twice likely to suffer as compared to women

  • Being overweight

  • Lifting items improperly

  • Repeated activities that strain your back

  • Sedentary lifestyle 

  • Smoking

  • Driving frequently - sitting for long periods

 What are the signs and symptoms of a Slipped Disc?

  • Lower back pain or neck pain

  • Sciatica: a sharp shooting pain that travels down your buttocks and legs

  • The pain of the upper or lower limb

  • The weakness of the upper or lower limb

  • Numbness or tingling of the upper or lower limb

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control (rare)

How is it diagnosed?

  • Your doctor will take a full medical history and complete a physical examination.

  • Imaging studies such as MRI or CT scan may be performed.

What is the treatment?

The treatment is can either be medical or surgical treatment.

Medical treatment includes:

  • Resting: taking some rest breaks throughout the day but do not sit for too long

  • Medications: Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs to ease the pain

  • Steroid injections: Injecting into space around the nerve to decrease the pain

  • Specific exercises to strengthen your back

Surgical treatment includes:

Spinal surgery is reserved for few cases only. Spinal surgery is for people who are not responding to medical treatment or for people experiencing difficulty in walking, loss of bladder and bowel control, or muscle weakness.

  • Microdiscectomy or endoscopic discectomy: With the help of a microscope, a small incision is made at the location of the slipped disc. After making the incision, the slipped disc is removed.

  • Rehabilitation: Performing some specific exercises to gain strength and flexibility of your back and legs. 

Manipal Hospitals provide slipped disc treatment in Delhi, having best spinal surgeons to treat your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I am diagnosed with a slipped disc, do I need surgery?

No. If you get a slipped disc, you will put on medications, physical therapy. Surgery is recommended only after failed attempts of medical treatment or if you are having difficulty in walking or have muscle weakness or unable to control your bladder and/or bowel. 

2. Can my slipped disc get worse?

If you are frequently active, the pain can get worse. You must try to take rest breaks in between throughout your whole day. Bending forward, sitting, coughing, sneezing, and driving can make the pain worse. 

3. In a slipped disc, why do I get symptoms in my legs or arms?

If your back or neck is involved, your legs or arms may be affected because the spinal nerves supplying the limbs is irritated or compressed. Hence, you feel symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness of the upper or lower limb. 

5.  What is the outcome of the surgery?

The outcome of microdiscectomy is very good. Patients are usually able to return to normal activities after recovery. 

 

 

Dr. Anurag Saxena

HOD & Consultant - Department Of Neurosurgery

Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, Delhi

 

App floating icon
Appointment
Health Check
Homecare icon Home Care
Contact Us
Write to COO
Call Us