A slipped disc occurs if one of the cartilage discs in the spine is impaired and compresses on the nerves which is marked by neck and back pain. Other symptoms that will manifest include:
- Tingling sensation
- Weakness in other parts of the body
The sciatic nerve is often involved in most cases of slipped disc. If pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve, it causes minor to intense pain in the hip, leg or buttocks.
Not all cases trigger symptoms such as pain, tingling or weakness. Many individuals are also able continue with their normal lives without knowing that they have a slipped disc.
A slipped disc develops once the circle of connective tissue that surrounds the disc deteriorates which allows the inner gel-like region of the disc to protrude. The damaged disc also places pressure on the spinal cord or a single nerve root.
The slipped disc can trigger pain in the area of the bulging disc and also in the area controlled by the nerve that the disc is compressing. The reason why a disc degenerates is not always clear, but age is a usual factor in most cases.
Smoking is also linked with the injury since it causes the discs to lose their natural flexibility. Other factors that can add pressure and strain on the spine include the following:
- Bending in an awkward manner
- Being overweight or obese
- Being seated for extended periods of time especially when driving
- Engaging in weight-bearing sports
- Severe damage to the back from a fall or vehicular accident
This can take approximately 1-3 months to recover from a slipped disc. The treatment typically involves a combination of physiotherapy such as exercise, massage and medications to alleviate the pain.
A surgical procedure that releases the crushed nerve and take away part of the disc might be taken into account in severe cases or if the discomfort does not subside over time.
In most instances, a slipped disc will sooner or later shrink away from the affected nerve and the discomfort settles as the disc no longer compresses on the involved nerve.
Staying active even if the individual has a slipped disc is required. Even though movement can be difficult initially, it is vital to start moving after resting for several days. This helps keep the back mobile and prevent the stiffening of the joints and weakening of the muscles.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on slipped disc is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage spinal injuries and conditions including a slipped disc, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.