The most common reason that cause a herniated disc is disc degeneration (wear and tear of the disc). The normal ageing process decreases the fluid in the vertebral disc that helps in maintaining proper flexibility. Any injury to the spine can also cause a herniated disc that may cause cracks or small tears in the outer layer of the disc. Inside the disc there is a jelly like material that can be pushed out from the cracks or tears in the capsule, causing the disc to break into fragments or bulge.
Injury to the disc can be due to –
Tingling and Numbness : A patient experiences some abnormal sensations of numbness, pin or needles and tingling. Usually all these symptoms occur in the same area and can be similar to painful electric shock sensations.
Electric Shock Pain : Abnormal sensations are caused by the nerve pressure. This sensation is similar to an electric shock pain. When there is a compression in the neck region then shock goes down to the arms and when compression is in the low back region then shock goes down to the legs.
Bladder or Bowel Problems : Bladder or bowel problems are an important indication of cauda equine syndrome. This condition usually results from a herniated disc.
Muscle Weakness : It could be possible that signals from the brain may get disturbed due to nerve irritation that further causes muscle weakness.
The condition of a herniated disc is diagnosed when its symptoms are present. With the help of neurological examinations, abnormal reflexes can be revealed. A positive straight leg raising test is done in order to elicit the pain when a straight leg is raised while sitting or lying. An abnormal sensation could also be there in the leg or foot. In order to determine any signs of infection or inflammation, many blood tests are done. The degeneration of the spine is indicated by plain film X-rays. Also CT scan or MRI scan is performed for determining whether or not a disc is herniated. The irritation in the nerves due to a disc herniation can be precisely determined by using an electromyogram (EMG).
Crystal Hospital Building, Maratha Colony,
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Dahisar (East), Mumbai-400068, India.