About Herniated Disc
In between each vertebra in the spinal column, there is a cushion like material called intervertebral disc.1 The function of these discs is to protect the vertebrae from any injury and they also act as a shock absorber such that the vertebrae do not rub against each other during strenuous activities like bending, lifting, or twisting. Herniated disc is also known as slipped disc or a ruptured disc causing nerve root compression, which leads to radiating pain, tingling and numbness.2 There can be numerous causes for a herniated disc, but in majority of the cases a herniated disc is caused due to repetitive stress injuries affecting the spinal column. Some of the activities that may eventually cause a herniated disc are repetitive bending, twisting, lifting of heavy items on a daily basis, and jumping. Disc herniation is a condition seen mostly in construction workers and athletes who partake in competitive track and field events.
Once a disc gets herniated, it moves out of its normal alignment thus impinging upon the adjacent nerves and irritating them. This impingement of the nerves causes various neurological symptoms like numbness and tingling radiating to the lower extremities, severe pain with any activities requiring the individual to bend, lift, or twist, alteration of sensation, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
As the disease condition progresses, the individual may feel pain along with other neurological symptoms even at rest. In some cases, the herniated disc may be trivial and thus do not cause any symptoms.
What Happens If a Herniated Disc is Left Untreated?
Herniated disc is a condition which can be treated easily with medications and exercises alone, but ignorance on the part of the patient to treat this condition can lead to unwanted effects. An untreated herniated disc may progress to impinge the nerve root to such an extent that it may require a major surgery to treat, which will have its own inherent risks and complications.
If a severe herniated disc is left untreated, then it may lead to potentially serious consequences like paralysis of the lower extremities which may be temporary or permanent. Untreated herniated disc may also leave the individual significantly disabled with inability to carry out basic activities of daily living. Additionally, if a disc herniation is left untreated, it may cause severe damage to the affected area which will have very minimal chance of getting reversed.
In conclusion, it is extremely important for an individual diagnosed with a herniated disc to get treated immediately so as to prevent potentially serious complications as a result of the herniation like paralysis and permanent damage to the affected area.
Additionally, an untreated herniated disc may cause the affected individual to become disabled and the patient will not be able to carry out even simple household chores like dusting or cleaning. It may also prohibit the individual from being gainfully employed due to the inability to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time as a result of disc herniation.
- Herniated Disc
- Lumbar Disc Herniation: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment-Manual Therapy, PT, Surgery
- Slipped Disc: Disc Anatomy, Symptoms, Signs, Investigations, Treatment, Medications, Biofeedback, Preventive Measures
- Massage Therapy For Disc Herniation or Herniated Disc: Deep Tissue Massage
- What Does A Slipped Disc Feel Like & How to Fix it?
- Can A Herniated Disc Heal On Its Own?