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Herniated or ruptured disc


A ruptured disc can develop anywhere in the spine (from neck to your lower back) and occurs when the hard outer wall of one of the intervertebral disc develops a crack resulting in leakage of the jellylike inner core into the spinal canal. This material can press against the nerve roots and can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, tingling and muscle weakness.

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Causes of a ruptured disc

The disc may develop crack due to any of the following reasons:  

  • Regular, age-related wear and tear
  • Sudden traumatic injury such as a car crash
  • Jobs involving prolonged exposure to vibration
  • Regular lifting of heavy items

Risk factors of a ruptured disc

Along with the above reasons, following factors increase the chances of a person to develop ruptured disc:  

  • Aging
  • Male
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Weak muscles

Common symptoms of a ruptured disc

Symptoms of a ruptured disc depend upon the location of rupture and may include any of the following:

  • Back or neck pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Loss of movement
  • Aching, or burning sensations
  • Sharp pain that radiates toward the extremities
  • Pain worsens at night or after standing or sitting or walking short distances

Diagnosis of ruptured disc

In addition to thorough history taking and physical examination of the patient, following diagnostic tests are performed to confirm the existence of ruptured disc:  

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Treatment for a ruptured disc

Initial treatment of a ruptured disc involves conservative treatment options like prescription medication, physical therapy and modified activity. If these does not work then open back surgery called microdiskectomy or laminectomy is performed to relieve the symptoms of ruptured disc. 

Authored by Dr. Shyam Sundar K

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Dr. Shyam Sundar K

Dr. Shyam Sundar K is an eminent name in the field of neurology. He is one of the best neurosurgeon in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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