Herniated Discs: You Could Have One Right Now

August 3, 2023Kolton Opdahl
Herniated Disc

What are Herniated Discs?

Herniated discs (also known as a ruptured or slipped disc) occurs in the lumbar and / or cervical regions. It is the most common cause of back pain in adults. As we get older, our spinal discs begin to wear down, stiffen, and lose their flexibility. Their high water content also becomes affected when the fluid from the nucleus leaks out – which is when a herniated disc occurs. Generally, speaking, there are no painful or visible symptoms, so many people don’t realize they have a herniated disc until they see it on an imaging test. However, if the disc compresses or pinches the surrounding nerves, then it can cause pain. Learn more about the causes of spinal disc herniation, symptoms, and treatment options. 


The primary cause of spinal disc herniation is natural disc degeneration or “wear and tear” caused by aging. In rarer cases, disc herniation can be a result of an auto accident or lifting heavy objects while twisting. Other risk factors of developing this condition are:

  • Jobs that require lots of manual labor 
  • Lack of movement 
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Smoking 


As we discussed earlier, a majority of people do not experience symptoms or pain from herniated discs unless it’s irritating the nerve; in which case they may have numbness, tingling, pain, and/or weakness. If you have a lumbar disc herniation, then you will most likely experience these symptoms in the buttocks, legs, calves, and feet on one side of the body. Opposingly, a cervical disc herniation will cause these symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers.

Unfortunately, if you find that you have intense pain paired with trouble performing everyday functions such as standing or walking, then it may be time to seek medical treatment for your symptoms. 


Herniated disc symptoms normally take a few months to heal. Your doctor will tell you what to do to relieve symptoms based on your situation. Some of the common recommendations for treatment are:

  • Medication: Over-the-counter painkillers, or sometimes prescription painkillers & muscle relaxants. This is a good option for short-term relief.
  • Rest: In the first stages of your injury, ease up on activities that cause pain & focus on light exercises.
  • Physical Therapy: Staying mobile with stretches and exercises will improve muscle strength, range of motion, and endurance to help you get back on your feet.
  • Alternative Treatment: Chiropractic care, massages, acupuncture, regenerative medicine, etc. This is a good option for rehab & long-term relief.

If none of the above options work for you, then consider talking to your doctor about surgery. The most common procedure is to remove the damaged part of the disc – a minimally invasive discectomy.

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