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What Happens If a Herniated Disc Goes Untreated?

Oct 13, 2020

What Happens If a Herniated Disc Goes UntreatedIf you’ve ever suffered from a herniated disc, you know how painful the spinal disturbance can be. But the good news is, with early diagnosis and a regular treatment plan, most people are able to recover and avoid chronic pain and persistent issues. As soon as you suspect a herniated disc, visiting a College Park imaging center can save you future pain and issues by identifying the root cause of your issue. With that information, you can work with your College Park chiropractor to develop the course of treatment that is right for you.

Types of Herniated Discs

A herniated disc occurs when the spongy, inner part of the disc between vertebrae begins to leak out, pressing on nearby nerve roots. Because your entire spine has discs in it, they can herniate at various points in the spine. The specific discs that have been affected and the vertebrae near them can lead to different symptoms, and therefore different treatment plans may be needed based on this information. One of the first things you will likely do when you visit a chiropractor is go to a College Park imaging center to help determine where the point of injury is. There are three main areas where herniated discs occur.

Cervical Herniated Discs

When the disc that herniates is in the neck, you may be diagnosed with a cervical herniated disc. This is sometimes a result of a neck injury or similar trauma, but it can also occur spontaneously. Compared to discs in other areas of the spine, those in the cervical spine are slightly smaller, leaving even less room for the nerves that surround them. Because of the limited space, even a tiny herniation can cause nerve pain.

When the nerve is first pinched you are likely to experience the most pain, particularly in the arm. Other symptoms may include neck pain, muscle tightness and cramping in the neck, tingling and numbness in the arms and hands, weakness in the arms and hands, headaches, insomnia, and even respiratory issues.

Lumbar Herniated Discs

In the lower part of the back, known as the lumbar spine, spinal discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, and they help to support the upper body and facilitate a range of movements. Discs in this area can herniate as a result of lifting heavy objects, twisting the lower back, or other daily activities that stress the lower discs. Stress placed on the lumbar spine can cause the outer ring on the disc to crack, bulge, or rip. The disc then protrudes into the nearby spinal nerve root, leading to pain and inflammation.

A lumbar herniated disc is the most common form of the injury, and many people will identify the first symptom as sharp and shooting pains that radiate down the buttocks and into the legs. There may also be cramping and tightness in the lower back, tingling in the legs and feet, or even issues with bowel and bladder control.

Thoracic Herniated Discs

The rarest place to herniate a disc is in the upper back, and when this does occur, it produces less pain than lumbar and cervical herniated discs. In the case of a thoracic herniated disc, the cause is usually general wear and tear on the disc and degeneration as a result of age. Over time, the vertebral bodies can relax, allowing for calcification around the disc space.

When a thoracic herniated disc does occur, pain is most commonly felt in the upper back and chest area. This pain may radiate or be exacerbated by coughing and sneezing, and can also be associated with respiratory issues.

Seeking Treatment for Herniated Discs

Though the symptoms may differ based on the source of your herniated disc, early treatment is an important step. Without intervention by an experienced chiropractor, herniated discs can lead to lifelong pain and even partial paralysis in severe cases. At AICA College Park, we focus on the root cause of your pain in order to help develop individualized plans for each patient.

When you visit AICA College Park for the first time, you will first meet with a chiropractor who can perform a physical examination and discuss your symptoms. If they need more information, you can then visit our attached College Park imaging center to undergo any diagnostic scans needed. This information can help your chiropractor decide on your treatment, as well as pull in any colleagues, like physical therapists, neurologists, or pain management specialists, as needed. Proper and early treatment is the best way to avoid chronic pain as a result of herniated discs- Call us today at AICA College Park!


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