Thousands of people each day are affected by spinal pain. This chronic lower back pain is frequently attributed to degenerated or herniated disks. Some people experience this pain each day, while others have a different experience of the occasional numbing in their legs and arms. Whether your back pain comes from degenerated or herniated disks, it can be a considerable challenge to overcome.
What is a Spinal Disc?
Before establishing what care can help back pain, we must first know what a spinal disc is. A spinal disc is a round, semi-soft disk within your spine. It is made of mucoprotein gel and collagen fibers and resides between two vertebrae along the spinal cord. In all, a person has 23 discs that, with the vertebrae, create a spine.
Each spinal disc is made up of two separate parts. These are known as the outer disc and the inner core. The outer disc is constructed of collagen fibers (also known as lamellas) that wrap around the inner core, protecting it. This outer part can also be known as the annulus fibrosus. The inner core (also known as the nucleus pulposus) comprises many loose fibers suspended with gel.
One suggestion is to think of the spinal disc as similar to a jelly doughnut. The outer layer protects the soft, jelly-filled portion in the center. The disc is flexible and pliable, allowing the spine to bend and twist as needed. However, this same softness that allows the spine to bend and twist can also be problematic as a person ages due to its softness.
Common Spinal Disc Problems
Back pain is a common ailment that affects many people. Doctors have several ways of determining what is causing a specific type of back pain, but in general, most disc issues can be categorized into two types: degenerated or herniated.
When a disc has degenerated, wear and tear have taken a toll on a disc. This, in turn, makes the disc itself less pliable. This type of issue affects the disc directly. Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common back and lower neck pain types. Patients may encounter pain that radiates down their arms or legs. However, this shooting pain can also be associated with a herniated disc.
Herniated discs occur when the disc’s inner core leaks through the outer wrap of collagen, causing the nerve to experience pressure. When the nerve is contacted directly like this, numbness can also occur in both the legs and arms. Occasionally a herniated disc might touch a nerve in the lower back, known as the sciatic nerve. If this happens, a person may lose the ability to walk or maintain their balance for a time. Herniated discs may also be called bulging or slipping discs.
Symptoms of Spinal Disc Problems
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with a disc issue.
- Chronic Neck Pain
- Chronic Back Pain
- Pain Radiates Down the Legs While Walking or Standing
- Numbness or Pins and Needles in Arms and Legs
- Problems Bending or Straightening Your Back
Tests are needed to determine whether your disc is bulging or degenerating, but steps can be taken in the meantime. Make sure you identify your root issue and get the help you need by contacting a trusted spinal care specialist, such as Hunt Spinal Care. They will be able to help your spine back into alignment, allowing the joints to glide and pump properly. To find out if you are a good candidate for this type of adjustment, contact Hunt Spinal Care to schedule a consultation today!