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Herniated Disc Symptoms and Treatment


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1,100 people suffered from some type of back injury related to working conditions during 2013. In addition to suffering a herniated disc from improper lifting or lifting objects that are too heavy, you can also suffer a herniated disc when you slip and fall on a wet surface, or are involved in a car accident. Understanding the reasons for herniated discs can help you avoid this painful injury, and it is also important to understand the symptoms and how they are identified.

What is a Herniated Disc?

Cleveland Clinic defines a herniated disc as an injury that “occurs when pressure from the vertebrae above and below force some or all of the nucleus pulposus through a weakened or torn part of the annulus. The herniated nucleus pulposus can press on the nerves near the disc, resulting in pain.

As you can see, the potential causes are numerous and may include a fall, a physical condition from birth, or improper lifting of any heavy items.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

You may be surprised at some of the symptoms of a herniated disc. While back pain is the most common indicator, additional symptoms could include nausea, tingling in the arms and hands, and shoulder pain. Any of these symptoms following a fall or accident should be a warning sign to see a physician.

How are Herniated Discs Diagnosed?

While this will largely depend upon your symptoms, some of the options that your physician may have regarding diagnosis include:

  • Neurological – Your physician may refer you to a neurologist in order to test the strength of your muscles and reflexes, and verify that you have not lost any feeling in the area of the rupture.
  • Imaging tests – Your physician may recommend an X-ray, MRI, or a CT scan to identify the cause of the pain as well as to determine if you have suffered any narrowing of the spine.
  • Specialized testing – Myelograms, which involve injections of dye into the spine in conjunction with a CT scan, or an electromyelogram, which involves needles placed into various areas to measure electric activity to determine if any nerves or nerve roots are being affected.

Herniated Disc Treatment

In many cases, the only treatment that is necessary for a herniated disc is an anti-inflammatory. However, severe cases could require back surgery, ongoing steroid treatments, and in very serious cases, could involve a replacement disc surgical procedure. In most cases, the pain from a herniated disc will prevent you from working because you may be unable to carry out your normal duties and may face difficulties standing or sitting for long periods of time.

What should I do if I suspect a herniated disc?

If you have suffered back pain after a job injury or a slip and fall accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If your health care provider determines that your accident resulted in a herniated disc, you should contact an attorney immediately.

Because it is impossible to determine what you may need for services after a herniated disc or to determine how long you will remain out of work, a personal injury attorney can fight to make sure that you do not suffer financially as a result of an accident that left you suffering with a herniated disc.