Your spine is composed of individual bones, called vertebra, each stacked up on each other. Between these vertebrae are rubbery disks that serve as a cushion for each compartment. Each disk is composed of a soft, gelatinous center surrounded by a tough exterior called annulus. When the annulus ruptures or breaks, the gelatinous center may ‘slip’ and protrude and push nearby nerves, causing extreme pain. This condition is called slipped disk, or herniated disk.
Slipped disk can be a result of a host of different factors. Too much weight, for instance, can put much strain in your lower back, making you more prone to this condition. A family history of slipped disk and a workplace with poor ergonomics may also increase your risk. A herniated disk can also be a result of traumatic incidents.
Pain is the primary symptom of a slipped disk. But apart from that, a person suffering from this condition may also experience numbness and tingling. Muscles being served by the nerves compressed by a slipped disk may also weaken due to lack of nerve energy.
To diagnose slipped disk, your doctor will perform physical examination to check for any slipped disk symptoms. Nerve tests may also be conducted to see if any of your nerves near the spinal column are being compressed, which may indicate slipped disk. Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scan may also help detect slipped disk.
Therapy and medication relieves the symptoms of herniated disk to most people. But in cases when a herniated disk can cause permanent paralysis, or when its symptoms still persist even after treatment, surgery might be required.