What To Know About Herniated Discs

Herniated DiscLet me start this post off with my personal history and why I became determined to discover what to know about herniated discs.  About two and half years ago, I couldn’t get up off the couch when I needed to leave for work.  I was diagnosed with L4 and L5 herniations.  Although improved, I’m still not entirely “better”.  About 5 years earlier than this episode, I also had the same two discs herniated.   That episode did take about six months to heal but I did fully heal.

Okay, I was 5 years older but I still felt I was missing the answer as to why I might never be normal again.  The only thing I could guess was it had to do with my careers.  I was working on my feet as an Assistant Store Manager in retail the first time and as a Customer Service Representative sitting on my butt when the more recent episode occurred.  So hopefully learning more about herniated discs will help us out.

What Is A Herniated Disc?

It is a damaged disc where the normally healthy spongy material between the vertebrae bulges out and places pressure (in most cases) on the nerves in the spinal cord.  Although most often occurring in the lumbar region of the spine (as in my case and as is the focus of this post), discs can herniate or rupture anywhere in the neck or spine.

What Causes Herniated Discs?

*Getting Older *Twisting
*Severe Strain *Bending
*Repetitive Motion *Improper Posture
*Coughing/Sneezing *Accidental and Sports Injuries

What Are The Symptoms?

*Low Back Pain *Sciatic Nerve Pain
*Muscle Pain *Muscle Spasms
*Numbness and Tingling *Muscle Weakness
*None If No Nerve Pressure *Radiating Rear or Leg Pain

Treatment Options

At Home Professional
*1-2 Days Rest Initially *Physical Therapy
*Walking/Light Exercise *Spinal Manipulation
*Heat or Ice Therapy *Pain Medication
*OTC Anti-Inflammatory Drugs *Surgery (Very Rarely)

Try These Prevention Tips

*Maintain A Healthy Weight *Regular Exercise (Low Impact)
*Proper Lifting Techniques *Proper Posture 
*Lumbar Support When Sitting *Leg Pillows When Sleeping

Just A Few More Things…

The pain a person might suffer from a herniated disc can range from no pain at all, if there is no pressure on the spinal nerves, to extremely severe.  In some cases, the pain may be accompanied by a limited range of motion or inability to engage in normal activities.  Normally the disc with heal itself in time but may take weeks or months in many cases.  Most people are healed within 6 months.  I’m not that lucky this time.

Unfortunately, once any of us have had a herniated disc or any other back problems, we become much more susceptible to reoccurrences or developing chronic conditions.  So once we’re not in a pain episode, it’s really important to practice as much preventative self-care as possible.  As for me, I’ll continue on with my stretching, exercise and posture routines.  What about you?

In both instances, I received medical treatment and I suggest you do the same.  In fact, if you’re in any pain from a herniated disc, I cannot image that you would be able to refrain from seeing a specialist.  Also there are some symptoms I didn’t even cover here that can indicate a much more serious condition.

If you have a story to tell or would like to leave a comment, please feel free to do so.

Thanks for reading,


Image Credit/Copywright: woodoo007 / 123RF Stock Photo

10 Responses

  1. Andrea Roa
    Andrea Roa May 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm | | Reply

    This is some great information. I was diagnosed a light scoliosis years ago and since it was very light I didn’t pay attention to it. I’m not saying I’ll be freaking out from now on, but I do need to care a little more about it. Especially about my postures and movements. The leg pillows is also a great recommendation! Thank you so much!

  2. Linda Lopez
    Linda Lopez May 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm | | Reply

    Good information. I liked the treatment options you provided. I have seen so many people in my work as a nurse who have suffered with chronic back pain, unfortunately a great many of them have had to resort to long term use of pain medications and have ended up becoming addicted to the pain meds. I was glad to see you also provide some exercise and preventative tips.

  3. Tom
    Tom May 30, 2014 at 12:57 am | | Reply

    Great information Denise. Love the format of what it is, causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Also love the table structure presentation. I can’t agree more that once you have a back problem, you become more susceptible to repeat occurrences. I never had a herniated disc, but earlier this year I had an issue where my SI joint in my right lower back kept popping out of alignment. I really should have been awarded “Customer of the Month” at my Chiropractor.:-)

  4. dustin
    dustin May 30, 2014 at 2:45 am | | Reply

    Great information! At work they talk about every single way you have said on trying to prevent these types of injuries to occur. We have to do daily stretches and proper lifting techniques. Love the post.

  5. Steve
    Steve May 30, 2014 at 3:47 am | | Reply

    really helpful info. i get a weird stiffness in my lower back sometimes that makes certain movement limited. but you’ve really help me to understand what’s going on there. thank you for giving me a clear answer!

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