The intervertebral disc is the shock absorber between two vertebrae. At times the disc looses structural stability and it buckles forming a disc bulge which often pre-empts a disc herniation. Disc herniations can compress and irritate a nerve and produce pain and symptoms like sciatica and arm pain.
Why does disc herniation happen?
In order to stay healthy a disc needs a mobile and balanced spine. The causes that can lead to a disc herniation are
- Chronic bad postures
- Small repetitive traumas
- Lift a heavy weight in the wrong way
- Major trauma like road traffic accidents, push-bike accidents, slippping on ice etc.
- Chronic emotional stress
When a lumbar disc herniates it can give:
- Low back pain either across the back or only on one side
- Pain in the gluteal region and/or in the leg, better know as "sciatica"
- Pins and needles or numbness in the leg, calf or foot
- Difficulty in walking on heels or toes
- Difficulties in bearing a position for long time (either sitting or standing)
When a cervical disc herniates it can give:
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
- Pain in the arm and hand (brachialgia)
- Pins and needles or numbnessin the arm and hand
- Difficulty in gripping and/or holding the arm up