How do you know if you have a herniated disc?
Often times back pain patients are concerned that they may have a herniated or slipped discin their back or neck…especially if there was a trauma involved…how would they know?
Well…if you have pain radiating down your arm or leg (sciatica) you should be concerned. If it hurts when you cough, laugh, or sneeze, you may have a disc herniation. Or, if you have loss of grip strength, arm or leg weakness…or foot drop, you could have a lumbar or cervical disc bulge or herniation.
A herniated disc can also cause numbness or tingling in the extremities, as well as hot or cold sensations…or just abnormal sensations.
Your nerves transmit sensory and motor input to and from the brain. Herniated or bulging discs put physical pressure on the nerves and can cause loss of sensation and motor function.
Sure, a herniated disc can happen all at once from a trauma. But what’s more likely to happen is a disc herniation from long term wear and tear from spinal degeneration and misalignment’s. Just like a tire can blow if it hits a curb…or it can blow from driving too hard over time with the front end out of alignment.
And get this…you may or may not have any neck or back pain with a disc herniation.
Actually…you could have a disc herniation and not even know it. In fact, most people that have disc herniations never even develop signs or symptoms. That’s right…only a small percentage of people that suffer disc herniations ever even know they have them. This is because not all herniated cervical or lumbar discs cause symptoms or loss of function.
However…of the herniated disc patients that do develop symptoms such as back pain, sciatica, numbness, tingling, or weakness…some of them become chronic and severe…some severely disabled.
So, knowing if you have a disc herniation is very difficult. Because even all the signs and symptoms I described above can be caused by other things, especially after acute trauma.
The gold standard for confirming the presence of a disc herniation in the spine is MRI.
If it turns out you have a herniated disc in your back there are surgical and non-surgical options.
Chiropractic care is probably your best natural solution…then non-surgical spinal decompression…or a combination of both. You may or may not need medical care…it just depends on the nature and severity of your condition.