Local Paramus, NJ disc pain relief providers such as MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center deal with debilitating spine conditions on a regular basis. Among such conditions, a herniated disc is one of the most common. About.com pedics expert Jonathan Cluett, M.D., briefly explains what a herniated disc is:
Many patients with back pain, leg pain, or weakness of the lower extremity muscles are diagnosed with a herniated disc. When a disc herniation occurs, the cushion that sits between the spinal vertebra is pushed outside its normal position. A herniated disc would not be a problem if it weren’t for the spinal nerves that are very close to the edge of these cushioning discs.
Also known (albeit incorrectly) as a slipped disc, a herniated disc causes moderate to severe back pain, or numbness/weakness in both upper and lower extremities. For a better understanding, one must remember that the human spine isn’t made up of just a stack of bones simply piled on top of one another—between the gaps in the vertebrae lie discs which serve as “cushions”.
These discs somewhat resemble jelly donuts in appearance, but with softer centers inside tougher exteriors. When a disc becomes herniated, the jelly-like substance is pushed outward and directly irritates the nerves in close proximity with the spine. A herniated disc can take one of three forms: a bulge (the gel-like substance is slightly pushed out and evenly distributed); a protrusion (the substance has been slightly pushed out but asymmetrically); and an extrusion (the substance is extensively pushed outward, occupying a larger area than the previous two).
Herniated discs are known to more likely occur between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebra, located in the lower back. Among the three forms of disc herniation previously mentioned, extrusion is the least common, but also highly linked to back pain due to the extent of the herniation.
However, herniated discs often get confused with bulging discs. To put things in perspective, the two conditions can be easily distinguished from one another. A bulging disc is “contained,” meaning that the disc isn’t torn per se; it only protrudes out from between the bones. On the other hand, herniated discs are the exact opposite—the disc itself is torn/damaged, and the jelly-like substance within it has leaked out.
Either way, a herniated disc is a definite cause for concern for Paramus, NJ disc pain patients. Such condition is more than worthy of urgent medical attention, or else the pain would definitely worsen—or subsequently develop, if not present at the moment.
(Source: Herniated Disc, About.com)