What is a Herniated disc?
Our vertebral column is made up of several bones. In between each bones there are Intervertebral discs(spongy cartilagenous tissue).These discs are spongy cartligeanous structures that support structure between vertebral bones. These intervetbral discs act like shock absorbers in case of any impact.They bear the weight of the trunk and connect the upper body to lower body. Protect the nerves and spinal cord surrounding the vertebral bones.
These vertebral discs are made of 2 main components, Annulus fibrosus and Nucleus pulposus. Annulus fibrosus is outer layer which is made up of sveral layers of collagen fibres arranged in a radial manner. Nucleus pulposus is the inner part which is a gel like struture. When the inner tissue/Nucleus pulposus of this vertebral disc leaks out or slips out and irritates a nerve near by then it is called Herniated disc.
Herniated disc is one of the common reason for Sciatica and chronic back pain. It can cause lower back pain, radiating leg pain, numbness and weakness in the legs. Depending on the severity of the nerve impingement the symptoms will be seen.
Causes of Herniated Disc
Poor Posture - Maintaining poor posture while sitting, standing and bending, lifting weights can put great pressure on your discs. Over a long period of time if you do this, this can weaken the strength of your lumbar discs and may cause the disc herniation.
Injury - If you are involved in an accident that has impacted your vertebral column, it can cause Disc Herniation
Degenerative Disc Disease - Like any other tissue in our body, as normal part of ageing, discs lose water content in them which makes them vulnerable to outside impact. This condition is called degenerative disc disease. This can lead to disc herniation even with slightest of pressure on the spine.
Who are at risk ?
People who smoke, who are overweight and do physically demanding jobs are all at risk. Age group between 30 to 50 is considered as risk age and Men are prone more than women.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, visit your GP for further evaluation.