Q1: What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, is a medical condition in which a damaged disc in the spine presses on nerves located around it. This can cause sharp, localized pain in the lower back as well as pain and numbness along a nerve path that may extend into the leg, arm, and up into the shoulder.
A1: A herniated disc is a condition in which a spinal disc bulges into the spinal canal, causing pain and other symptoms.
It is often the result of degenerative changes or trauma to the spine. Treatment may involve physical therapy, medication, and even surgery in some cases.
Q2: What are common symptoms of a herniated disc?
Common symptoms of a herniated disc can include localized pain in the affected area, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, radiating pain in the back or legs, and difficulty sitting or standing for long periods.
In some cases, a herniated disc can cause pain and numbness in the legs or arms.
Other symptoms can include a feeling of weakness or tingling in the affected area, and sometimes a sharp pain when coughing or sneezing.
Q3: How is a herniated disc diagnosed?
A herniated disc is typically diagnosed with a physical exam, MRI, and/or CT scan. During the physical exam, a doctor looks for signs, like arm or leg weakness, muscle twitching, or reduced sensation, that could indicate a herniated disc is compressing a nerve. An MRI or CT scan is then usually performed to confirm the diagnosis and identify the exact location of the herniation.
A3: The diagnosis of a herniated disc is usually made based on an MRI scan, CT scan, or X-ray.
Your doctor may also perform a physical exam, including a neurological exam to assess which nerve roots may be affected by the herniated disc. He or she may also order an electromyogram (EMG) to measure the electrical activity of a particular nerve and determine which nerve roots are affected. In some cases, an epidural injection may be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Q4: Can a herniated disc cause abdominal pain?
Yes, herniated discs can cause abdominal pain, usually due to pressure on surrounding nerves or inflammation from the herniated disc itself. Additionally, herniated discs can cause referred pain, which is when pain is felt in a neighboring area of the body—in other words, you can feel abdominal pain due to a herniated disc located in the back.
This can be due to pressure on the abdominal area from the her
niated disc, or the pressure can cause pain to be felt throughout the abdomen. It is important to seek medical assistance from a qualified back specialist if you experience abdominal pain as a result of a herniated disc.