A herniated disc — also called a ‘slipped’ or ‘ruptured’ disc — is a problem with the discs between the bones of the spine. A herniated disc is most common in the neck and lower back.
The spine is made up of a column of 33 separate bones (vertebrae), each separated by a cushion-like piece of cartilage (vertebral disc):
- The disc adds cushioning between the vertebrae and absorbs heavy physical stress
- The disc is made up of a softer, jelly-like middle area and surrounded by a tougher fibrous material that adds support.
A herniated disc occurs when the softer middle layer pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior. This herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves, causing pain and inflammation, as well as numbness or weakness in the legs or arms. Note that many people with a herniated disc experience no symptoms at all.
Common Herniated Disc Symptoms:
- Leg or arm pain
- Muscle weakness in legs or arms
- Radiating symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning or shooting sensations into the arm or leg.
What are the causes of a herniated disc?
Sometimes it’s aging. As part of the natural aging process, the jelly-like middle area of the vertebral discs lose their water content and begin to dry out. With this decreased water content the disc loses its flexibility, as well as the ability to absorb impact, making it more prone to tear or rupture.
Sometimes it’s correctible physical issues. Lifting objects with poor posture, overusing your back muscles to lift instead of the leg muscles, as well as twisting or turning while lifting — all can put you at risk for a herniated disc.
Peak Form Medical Clinic Can Help!
Our herniated disc therapy program includes a combination of physical therapy treatments, home exercise plan and education. Our goal is to lessen your pain and discomfort and improve your overall daily functioning.
- Exercises to relieve nerve pressure and decrease symptoms
- Pain relief therapy
- Stretching and flexibility exercises to improve mobility
- Tailored home exercise program to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance
- Education on posture and movement: small changes can help continue to relieve pain and prevent a recurrence.
In the event that you and your physician decide on joint replacement, we provide effective pre- and post-op physical therapies to help you recover faster and restore your quality of life.