A disc herniation is present when the inner contents of the disc, which have the consistency of crab meat, push out through the confining outer, tough layers of the disc. This inner part, called the nucleous pulposus, can escape through tears in the outer “anulus fibrosus”. These outer, disc fibers are a little like a woven basket. There are 12-25 thick layers of tough, fibrous tissue, each adjacent layer is oriented at a different angle. In the center of the disc is the component, which is like crab meat. Over time, as your disc ages and degenerates, the outer layers tear, and when these tears in each layer occur, they permit the inner part to migrate through the layers and exit the disc.
The outer layers of the disc have nerves, which when torn, convey pain sensation in the back. Muscles usually get tight also. In fact, tight muscles near your spine, shoulders and buttock, are usually from injuries to your discs. As the disc gets worse, it will pinch nerves, causing pain down the arms or legs.
Disc herniations are usually a gradual process. They start with degenerative changes, and progress slowly. As the disc degenerates, it is more vulnerable to herniation. This process may proceed for many years before manifesting with the classic symptoms of a pinched nerve, with radiating arm or leg pain.
A herniated disc is an anatomical problem. It requires an anatomical solution. The most effective anatomical solution is to provide the treatment of spinal decompression to encourage an anatomical reversal of the herniation. Seldom is surgical treatment for a disc herniation necessary.
If I can help you with your disc herniation, please call us at 404-558-4015.