Herniated disc (slipped disc)

Back | Orthopaedics | Herniated disc (slipped disc) (Disease)


Disc herniation is a neurological disorder of nature is characterized by sliding along the nucleus pulposus and spinal marrow, which translates clinically by the appearance of very intense back pain in that area. This condition occurs when some or all of the nucleus pulposus (the soft disc) herniates through a weakened area of the fiber ring of the intervertebral disc.

Hernia is often posterior and ipsilateral (the same side) fault.

The intervertebral disc is located, as the name, between the vertebral bodies. It is designed to absorb shock waves in the column is subjected during sudden movements that we do during strenuous activities.

The intervertebral disc has a central area composed of a substance with the consistency of a gel, called the nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded by a fibrous capsule, fibrous ring. This structure is held fixed in place by a strong ligament, previous longitudinal ligament (which is located above the spine vertebral bodies) and the posterior longitudinal ligament (located posterior to the vertebral bodies). Besides these two ligaments, the structures are kept fixed and the paravertebral muscles.

The frequency of this disease is relatively high, ranging from 1 to 10% of the adult population. The most affected age group is between 25-45 years.

Causes and Risk factors

A herniated disc usually is caused by wear and tear of the disc (also called disc degeneration). As we age, our vertebral discs lose some of the fluid that helps them maintain flexibility. A herniated disc also may result from injuries to the spine, which may cause tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.

A hernia can occur at any level of the intervertebral discs, but the two most common locations are the cervical and the lumbar discs. Lumbar disc herniation is the cause most chronic back pain (lumbago) and radiating pain in the leg (sciatica). Lumbar hernia is more common than cervical, and occurs mainly in the L5-S1. It seems that in this area ligaments are less resistant and much thinner.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Conservative treatment — mainly avoiding painful positions and following a planned exercise and pain-medication regimen — relieves symptoms in nine out of 10 people with a herniated disk. Many people get better in a month or two with conservative treatment. ...