What herniated discs have in common with a jelly donut

What herniated discs have in common with a jelly donutHerniated discs: defined and explained

Imagine you’re visiting your favorite donut shop, scanning that shiny glass case for something delicious, when you see it. Nestled between the glorious glazed and beautiful blueberry is that perfectly sugared jelly donut you can’t take your eyes off of. Beside yourself with glee, you grab a fist full of napkins and take a big bite only to realize that the bright, gooey jelly inside it has oozed onto your freshly pressed white shirt. While incredible to devour, this jelly donut is often the most used analogy to describe what happens when you experience that painful condition known as a herniated disc.

What herniated discs have in common with a jelly donut Think of the discs in your spine as cushions or even shock absorbers. Each disc is comprised of a donut with a tough outer ring and a soft jelly center. When too much pressure is placed on the disc, the jelly center comes oozing out of the donut, causing it to break through the outer protective ring of the disc.

Neck or back pain is usually the first thing patients report when describing herniated disc symptoms. And because these discs can protrude out, putting pressure on the spinal nerves, it can often lead to pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in one of the arms or legs. In extreme cases, patients may experience loss of bowel or bladder functions due to the nerve root being compressed. But there are some patients who do not experience any symptoms at all.

So what are the most common herniated disc causes? There are many, but it’s usually the result of a sudden injury or gradual wear of the disc over a period of time. Sometimes, patients can precisely pinpoint the exact moment it occurred, like when lifting a heavy item or bending down to pick up their toddler. Other times, there is no rhyme or reason to why it ever happened in the first place.

When diagnosed with a herniated disc, the condition usually falls into one of three categories. The first and most common is the lumbar herniated disc, which starts with lower back pain that turns into leg and sciatica pain and/or tingling. The second is the cervical herniated disc, which is sometimes diagnosed as a pinched nerve and can cause extreme neck pain that radiates down the shoulder and arm. The third type, the thoracic herniated disc, usually affects older patients and is often the most serious with upper back pain that can radiate into the chest or stomach; causing back stiffness and muscle weakness.

If your symptoms are on the mild to moderate side, you may benefit from conservative treatments like acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments or steroid injections. But if those painful symptoms persist or worsen over time and you require herniated disc treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review.* We’ll let you know within two business days if your condition is one we can treat with our minimally invasive spine procedures.

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