What is an extruded Disc Herniation?
An extruded disc is often referred to as a herniated, ruptured, or damaged disc. Extruded or herniated disc is a condition in which the intervertebral disc becomes weak and bulges (or herniates), out of its disc space and into the spine canal. Extruded discs by themselves do not cause symptoms.
An extruded disc may sometimes compress the spinal cord, or cause pain to the existing spinal nerves. You may feel pins and needles, weakness in your muscles, tingling or tingling at the nerve site, and pain in the corresponding extremity.
A disc extrusion herniation can develop in a number of ways. Extrusion disc herniation risk increases with a sedentary lifestyle. Poor eating habits, excess weight, and repetitive activities like lifting and bending put more pressure on the spine. The intervertebral Discs that cushion our spine with their spongy composition, become less effective as we age.
The discs become brittle and weaken over time. The discs may become brittle over time, which can lead to tears in their outer wall, which allows them to herniate. Because these areas allow the discs to move freely and are most likely to herniate, the neck and lower back are the most common.
3 TYPES HERNIATED DISCS
There are 3 types of disc herniation. These are classified based on the condition of the annulus fibrosus or the nucleus pulposus.
- Disc protrusion. The disc’s jelly-like inner core bulges out of the disc, but its fibrous outer layer is intact.
- Disc extrusion. The inner jelly-like core breaks through the fibrous outer and escapes into the spinal channel. The inner core material stays attached to the disc. This type may begin as a disc protrusion or progress to disc extrusion.
- Disc sequestration. The jelly-like inner layer breaks through the fibrous outer layers and separates the disc. It might float around the spinal canal, or one of the passageways that leads out of it. This type may begin as a disc protrusion and eventually progress to disc sequestration.
If the disc herniations mentioned above cause pain, inflammation, and other symptoms, such as compression of spinal nerves, the spinal chord, or other structures within the spine, then all three can be caused by disc herniations. If disc damage is more severe, symptoms could worsen.
While disc herniation could occur anywhere along the spine it is most common in the cervical spine as well as the lumbar spine. The most mobile areas of the spine are located in the low back and neck.
In some cases disc extrusion may not cause symptoms or pain. If the jelly-like disc nucleus from the disc leaks, symptoms may appear. If you are suffering from symptomatic cases, the following may occur:
- Neck pain
- The pain radiates down to the arm and shoulders.
- Numbness, weakness or tingling radiating down the arm and fingers
- Neck spasms
- Low back pain
- Sciatic pain refers to pain that radiates down the buttocks and thigh, or down the leg.
- Numbness, weakness or tingling radiating down the legs and feet
- Back spasms
Symptoms typically only appear on one side.
HERNIATED DISCS TREATMENT OPTIONS
An imaging scan, such as an MRI, will be used by your doctor to visualize a herniated disc. This will help determine the extent and type of herniation. Extruded discs often heal on their own over a period of weeks or even months. Your doctor will likely recommend conservative treatments to speed the healing process. The following are possible treatment options:
Pain relief can be obtained by taking over-the-counter medicines for mild to moderate discomfort. If you have severe pain, your doctor might prescribe stronger painkillers. A short-term treatment of muscle relaxants may be recommended if you have painful muscle spasms.
Corticosteroid injections can be used to reduce irritation and inflammation around nerve roots. Cortisone shots are temporary but provide short-term pain relief. They also allow your body to begin the healing process.
A course of physical therapy might be recommended by your doctor in order to regain mobility and increase strength in the spine and surrounding muscles. The therapist will work closely with you to strengthen your core muscles and lower back, which support and protect your spine.
A doctor might recommend that you change your lifestyle to include regular exercise and losing weight. Regular exercise can help build strength, flexibility, mobility and mobile functionality in your joints and muscles. Weight loss can help relieve stress from your spine, joints and muscles.
When is surgery recommended for a disc extrusion?
If your disc condition doesn’t improve after initial treatments or if there are any serious symptoms such as persistent pain, intractable movement, weakness of the extremities, problems with bowel and bladder function, or if your neck, back, or mid-back, is not improving, you may need surgery.
If there are signs of nerve damage or disc extrusions, it may be suggested that surgery be performed. If treatment or medication fail to relieve your spine pain, a spine surgeon may be able to provide you with the relief you require to live the life you want.