You might have heard the term “slipped disk” before (sounds painful!), but what exactly is it?
What is a slipped disk?
- A slipped disk happens when the soft inner part of the disk sticks out through the outer ring.
- You’re more likely to have a slipped disk if you’re an older adult.
A series of bones – vertebrae – stacked on top of each other makes up your spinal column. Those bones are cushioned and protected by disks, which help to absorb the shock to the spinal column that happens from activities like walking, lifting or dancing.
Each disk is comprised of two parts: a soft, gelatin-like inner part and a hard outer ring.
When you’re injured or weak, it can prompt the inner part of the disk to poke through the outer ring.When that happens, it’s called a slipped, herniated or prolapsed disk. Ouch!
Slipped disks are painful, and if the slipped disk is pushing against one of the nerves in your spine, it can also cause numbness and increased pain in that area.
If it’s severe, you might have to undergo surgery to repair the disk.
What are the symptoms of a slipped disk?
Whether it’s up in your neck or in your lower back, you can get a slipped disk anywhere along your spine.
One of the more common places for slipped disks is the lower back.
Symptoms of a slipped disk include:
- pain and numbness, most likely on one side of the body
- pain that goes from your back to your arms or legs
- pain that gets worse at night or if you move a certain way
- pain that increases when you sit or stand
- pain when walking
- weakness in your muscles
- tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the area of your spine
The levels of pain can vary depending on the person and the severity of the injury, but you’ll need to see your doctor immediately if the pain is unbearable or you have numbness or tingling.
What causes slipped disks?
When the inner portion of your disk protrudes through the outer ring, it means that your outer ring was too weak or was torn to allow the inner part of the disk to slip through.
This happens more frequently with age, but it can also be caused by certain movements, like twisting in a position that’s hard on your back or lifting objects that are too heavy.
People who work jobs that require a lot of heavy lifting, and those who are overweight, are at an increased risk for a slipped disk.
If you believe you might have a slipped disk or are experiencing symptoms, contact Louisiana Pain Specialists today.