Studies indicated that, annually, approximately 3 million people experience a herniated disc. This common condition may occur as a result of injury or wear and tear. Here, we discuss what a herniated disc is, how you might recognize if you have an injured disc, and whether or not this injury may heal on its own.
What is a herniated disc?
The spinal discs are spongy structures that sit between each set of vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column. The discs are vital to spinal movement and to the passage of nerves from the spinal canal through the spinal column. Discs also keep the vertebrae from touching and wearing down. In some situations, the outer shell of a disc may weaken and tear. When this happens, the soft, gelatinous nucleus of the disc spills out into the spinal canal. This matter can bump up against nerves or compress them, causing varying degrees of pain.
Some of the symptoms of a herniated disc include shooting pain, weakness, or numbness along the nerve path. For example, when a herniated disc occurs in the low back, the lumbar spine, pain may travel down the leg. If the herniated disc is in the neck, the cervical spine, symptoms may radiate across the shoulder, upper back, and down the arm.
So, What about Healing?
Patients often want to know if a herniated disc will heal on its own. What research shows is that the symptoms of a herniated disc may improve over time. However, this does not mean the torn disc has closed spontaneously. The disc may continue to be weak and have a tear, however, the surrounding nerves are no longer responding to pressure. This is why people who have a herniated disc may feel better for a time only to “reinjure” their neck or back in an unexpected way, such as bending to tie their shoes.
At Orthohealing Center, we are committed to researching cell based therapies for the treatment of various injuries and conditions. Alternatives to surgery and pharmacological treatments exist. We are at the forefront of these therapies. To learn more about how we can help you address the symptoms of a herniated disc, call 310-453-5404 and schedule a consultation at our Los Angeles center.