SPINAL DISC HERNIATION
Spinal disc herniation is a common disease of the spine, usually caused by degenerative discs in middle age (30-50 years old). Today disc herniation occurs at very young age due to sport activities, wrong posture at work, accidents ... If a disc herniates and leaks some of its inner material, though, the disc can quickly go from easing daily life to aggravating a nerve, triggering back pain and possibly pain and nerve symptoms down the leg.
- Cervical disc herniation occurs in the neck, most often between the fifth & sixth (C5/6) and the sixth and seventh (C6/7) cervical vertebral bodies. Symptoms can affect the back of the skull, the neck, shoulder girdle, scapula, arm, and hand. The nerves of the cervical plexus and brachial plexus can be affected. Usually, a posterolateral disc hernia will affect the nerve root exiting at the level of the disk. Nerves roots are numbered according to the vertebral body below them (except the C8 nerve root). Thus, a C5/6 disc hernia will normally affect the C6 nerve root.
- Lumbar disc herniation occurs in the lower back, most often between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebral bodies or between the fifth and the sacrum. Symptoms can affect the lower back, buttocks, thigh, anal/genital region (via the perineal nerve), and may radiate into the foot and/or toe. The sciatic nerve is the most commonly affected nerve, causing symptoms of sciatica. The femoral nerve can also be affected and cause the patient to experience a numb, tingling feeling throughout one or both legs and even feet or even a burning feeling in the hips and legs. A hernia in the lumbar region often compresses the nerve root exiting at the level below the disk. Thus, a herniation of the L4/5 disc will compress the L5 nerve root.
The doctor may recommend physical therapy. The doctor's orders are transmitted to the physical therapist by prescription. Physical therapy includes a combination of treatments to decrease pain and increase flexibility. Ice and heat therapy, gentle massage, stretching, and pelvic traction are some examples, but your physical therapist will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your pain and other symptoms.