Disc injury is the #1 cause of disability. Nearly a third of women suffer from low back pain, compared to a quarter of men. Three million years of productive life are lost every year due to disc injury. As people age, the discs wear down, become less flexible, and are prone to tearing or rupturing. The lumbar spinal discs carry more weight and are more mobile than the thoracic spine, making them more likely to be injured and cause pain.
A herniated disc – also known as a pinched, slipped, or ruptured disc – is a problem with the rubbery cushion that sits between the individual vertebrae of the spine. Typical symptoms include numbness, weakness, tingling, leg pain, and arm pain.
There are four stages of disc herniation:
- Bulging disc
- Disc Protrusion
- Disc Sequestration
Herniated disc symptoms vary from mild to severe, including:
- Pain in the arm or leg
- Burning and tingling sensations in the affected area
- Muscle weakness
- Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing
- Pain or numbness that radiates down one side of the body
- Pain that becomes more severe at night
- Impaired reflexes of the ankle or knee
If you experience severe back pain or pain in the buttocks or legs, we recommend you first see your doctor or physiotherapist. If, after assessing your history and current physical presentation, a herniated disc is likely, your practitioner will most likely send you for an MRI or CT scan, both of which give the most accurate diagnosis of disc injuries.