There are many different terms used to refer to herniated discs, such as a disc protrusion, disc prolapse, ruptured disc, or slipped disc, but the only correct way to refer to this condition is as a herniated disc. Using these other terms to refer to a herniated disc will not only confuse patients’ understanding of what a disc herniation actually is, but it can also confuse patients’ understanding of what causes pain related to herniated discs, such as a so-called pinched nerve. This confusion can result in patients failing to get the proper treatment for their herniation, leading to unnecessary pain and discomfort.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
First, we need to discuss what a herniated disc is and what causes herniation to occur. Disc herniation happens when the soft, jelly-like center of the spinal disc, called the nucleus pulposus, pushes through tears in the tougher, rubbery-like exterior of the spinal disc called the annulus fibrosus.
It should be noted that when spinal discs become herniated, it is usually an indication the disc or discs are in the beginning stages of degeneration.1
Although there are many causes that can lead to a herniated disc, it’s most commonly caused by either a strain or injury or disc degeneration that takes place over time.1 This explains why herniated discs are an indication of degenerative discs. Annular tears in the outer portion of the spinal disc are what allows the nucleus pulposus to push through the annulus, allowing herniation to happen, and these same tears are also what lead to disc degeneration.
This is why referring to disc herniation as a slipped disc, disc protrusion, disc prolapse or ruptured disc is incorrect. This condition is caused by annular tears in the spinal disc that simply allow the nucleus pulposus to leak out, the disc does not slip or protrude out of place. Understanding that annular tears are the underlying cause of herniation will allow you to get the proper treatment, and that is a treatment that can successfully seal and heal annular tears.
Why the Term “Pinched Nerve” is Incorrect
This is something that may be surprising to some, but disc herniations do not cause symptoms, which is why blaming herniated disc pain on a pinched nerve is incorrect. Symptoms related to disc herniation are actually caused by the leaking of the nucleus pulposus gel.
Although the nucleus pulposus is a natural part of our bodies, when it leaks from the inside of the spinal disc, your body perceives it as a foreign substance and this is why it causes irritation and inflammation. When the nucleus pulposus comes into contact with nerves surrounding the spinal disc, it irritates the nerve, leading to sciatica pain, weakness, and other symptoms usually attributed to a pinched nerve.
Although in some cases, the cause of symptoms such as sciatica can be caused by a nerve that is physically pinched, in most cases, annular tears are the true culprit.
The Discseel® Procedure
Because pain and weakness related to herniated discs are caused by the nucleus pulposus and annular tears that cannot be seen on MRI and CT scans, it can be difficult to get effective and long-lasting treatment for this condition.
It’s important to find a treatment that is able to address annular tears, sealing them to prevent further leaking and allowing the tears to heal so that you can find lasting relief. The Discseel® Procedure is a treatment known to be able to do both these things. Using a natural fibrin biologic known to encourage healing tissue growth in other parts of the body, the Discseel® Procedure allows spinal disc tissue to grow and heal itself.
If you’re ready to get lasting relief from your back or neck pain through a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment that won’t limit your mobility, apply for the Discseel® Procedure today and find out if you’re a candidate.
- Herniated Disc. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
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