Millions of patients worldwide experience chronic back pain. Several possible causes could be the culprit for someone who is experiencing pain. It could merely be sore muscles, or it could be a severe problem. In most cases, it won't be dangerous, but if back pain is persisting, a person may want to consider seeing their doctor. One possible cause for someone's chronic back pain could be a herniated lumbar disc.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Herniated discs are a condition that generally comes about slowly. The discs in your back can lose their water content, which can cause them to become drier. As they dry, this makes them more prone to tears. This is made worse as you get older and generally lose your flexibility.
While anyone can cause injury to themselves by moving improperly, as you get older and the discs become drier, it gets much more easier to injure these. It is possible to herniate a disc due to trauma such as a car accident, but it is much more likely to be caused by degeneration. Because of this commonality, a few certain risk factors have been identified as much more likely to make you suffer from this condition.
One such risk factor is being overweight. Patients who are overweight are much more likely to suffer from a herniated disc due to the pressure that they may be putting on their spine. This pressure can build up over time and cause injury to you. A second is smoking. Some think that the reason smokers are much more likely to suffer from a herniated disc is that smoking is depriving the body of its oxygen supply. This lack of adequate oxygen can cause parts of the body, like your lumbar discs, to break down quicker than normal, leaving you more susceptible to a herniated disc.
A third risk factor can be a person's occupation. If you work in a job that requires repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing, bending sideways, and twisting can increase your risk of a herniated disk as well. These are motions that are going to put more wear and tear on the spine and its disc. Lastly, your genetics can help determine how likely you are to suffer from a herniated disc. Some patients are just genetically more predisposed to suffering from a herniated disc.
How To Know If You Have A Herniated Disc?
The only way to know for sure that you are suffering from a herniated disc is to get a medical diagnosis, but several symptoms may tip you off to the fact that something is wrong. Here are some of the most commonly experienced symptoms for patients who have a herniated disc.
Lower back pain
At first, this one may seem obvious, but many patients feel lower back pain, which can be easily ignored. Patients feel pain in their back for many reasons that it can be nearly impossible sometimes for patients to know what it is that is causing their problem. Lower back pain can be mild soreness from a hard day at the gym, or it can be more serious, such as a herniated disc. The best thing to do if you are suffering from consistent back pain is to consult your doctor.
In many situations, seemingly unexplainable pain in one's legs is a sign that there is an issue with the spine. Especially in cases of herniated discs, leg pain is often found in combination with back pain. Frequently, patients suffering from a herniated disc will notice the pain in their legs before noticing the pain in their backs.
Pain in multiple locations
If you are suffering from pain that is seemingly changing locations, you are not alone, and this could be a sign that you are suffering from a herniated disc. Pain may be in you back, your legs, and elsewhere and it may be alternating between the locations. This is something to be wary of because it may be a sign of a herniated disc. This is especially true if the pain seems to only be located on one side of the body.
Numbness in legs
Much like how a herniated disc can cause a person to experience pain in their legs, it can also cause a person's legs or feet to go numb. You may also feel a tingling when this happens as well. If this is something that you are suffering from, you may want to contact your doctor.
A herniated disc can cause prolonged, chronic pain, but it can also cause sharp pains in the back or legs. If you are suffering from this, you should consult your doctor because you may be suffering from nerve damage due to your herniated disc, which is something you would want to catch as soon as possible.
Foot drop is a fairly common symptom for patients who have a herniated disc, although they often do not know what it is called and what causes it. If you have ever been walking when it suddenly became hard to lift your foot, you may have experienced foot drop. Foot drop has also been described as problems with standing on the balls of your feet.
Pain while moving
A herniated disc can cause pain in many ways. For some patients, they can feel fine when they are relaxing or otherwise stationary, but they still experience pain when they are moving around. It is common that patients only feel pain in their backs when doing a certain way, moving a certain way, or sitting a certain way. While a herniated disc can cause a lot of pain when you are moving, it can also cause pain when you are sitting still. Sitting in certain positions can still put patients in quite a lot of pain. If certain movements of ways of sitting are causing you pain, you should consult your doctor.