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If you didn’t know, the spinal column is made up of 24 separate vertebras. It is our
spinal column that allows our back and neck to move in the ways that it does to perform
our daily tasks. In between the adjoining vertebrae, are cushion like discs. These discs
work to lessen any friction that might occur, as well as assist in the movement of the
vertebrae. Because these discs need to stay well hydrated in order to serve their
purpose, if they begin to dehydrate over time, they are more likely to break or
deteriorate, this results in what is called a herniated disc.

When this happens, and a person develops a herniated disc, pressure is then put on the
spine or directly on a nerve, resulting in pain.

Though the most common cause of a herniated disc is simply just aging, there are
several other causes that can lead to a herniated disc. These possible causes include,
trauma on the spine, lack of exercise and regular unhealthy eating, smoking tobacco or
extended periods of sitting or lifting heavy objects on a regular basis. If your family has
a history of herniated discs, genetics can also play a factor.
So just how do you know if you have a herniated disc? Well, it can be tricky sometimes
to know. Sometimes there will be no symptoms, while with other cases, a person may
experience excruciating pain in their back or neck that may go all the way down through
their arm or leg, making it hard to walk at times, or they may feel as if their muscles are
weak.

Because there are several regions in the spine, a herniated disc can happen in the
thoracic, cervical or lumbar region. However, it is most common for a herniated disc to
happen in either the lumbar or cervical regions. You may be wondering why, it’s simple.
The lower back and neck tend to be what we depend on to support a good portion of
our body weight. These two areas are also extremely flexible. Overtime, these two
areas cab begin to wear and tear, resulting in the herniated disc. Depending on what
region the disc is located could determine what kind of pain you feel; this pain could
range from the lower back, neck and legs to even your stomach.

When visiting a doctor, the doctor will check your back to see how and where it is tender
at. Movement of your legs will be checked as well as your reflexes and muscle strength.
After diagnosing a patient with a herniated disc, an X-ray and/or MRI will be ordered.
The X-ray will be used to make sure that there are no other conditions or issues in the
back or neck, while the MRI will be performed to see where and what your discs look
like.

Very few who are diagnosed with a herniated disc require surgery. For most, simple
treatments such as pain relievers, physical therapy and muscle relaxers will get the job
done.