How Do I Know if I Have a Slipped Disc?

Being at risk for slipped discs, The symptoms of a slipped disc, How Do I Know if I Have a Slipped Disc?

Between each of the vertebrae in your spine, you have a rubbery disc that acts as a shock absorber and allows flexibility in your back. When the soft filling of an intervertebral disc pushes outward, you develop what’s known as a “slipped disc,” which can irritate or compress nearby nerve roots. Unlike muscle strains and sprains, this type of back pain causes additional specific symptoms because nerves are involved.

As an experienced interventional spine and pain management specialist, Dr. Ajit Pai understands the importance of accurately diagnosing your back pain in order to provide the most effective relief. If you have back pain with the following associated symptoms, Dr. Pai and our team at Pain Management Group LLC, in Mishawaka, Indiana can help get you back on track.

The symptoms of a slipped disc

Several telltale signs can indicate that you have a slipped, bulging, or herniated (ruptured) disc.

The absence of a significant trauma

One of the first clues that you could have a slipped disc is that your back pain didn’t start with a traumatic event, like a fall or an accident. Instead, disc  injuries may result from relatively benign activities, like moving a heavy object or twisting and turning while lifting something at the same time. Slipped discs are usually the result of gradual wear-and-tear on the spine or of age-related degeneration. As you age, your discs become drier and less flexible, which leaves them more vulnerable to injury from even the smallest movement or strain.

You have radiating pain in your limbs

Because a slipped disc puts pressure on a specific nerve root, this type of back pain usually affects only one side of your body. Symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness radiate down your back or arms. When you have a slipped disc in your lower spine, for example, you develop pain going into your legs (if it’s at the L-5 disc, you develop sciatica). If the offending disc is in your neck or cervical spine, it’s common to experience intense pain, tingling, or weakness shooting into your shoulder and arm.

Whether you have a slipped disc in your neck or lower back, your pain is usually worse if you sneeze, cough, or sit or stand for long periods, and it worsens at night. It’s also common to have pain when walking for even short distances.

Being at risk for slipped discs

In addition to the physical symptoms of a slipped disc, certain factors can increase your chances of having this type of pain, including:

Men are also twice as likely to have a slipped disc than women, usually because of increased mechanical stress or injury.

To reduce your risk of having a slipped disc, you should maintain a healthy weight, practice good posture, and do muscle strengthening exercises that focus on stabilizing and supporting your spine.

If you have a slipped disc, Dr. Pai can create a personalized approach to managing your symptoms and relieving your pain. These treatments usually involve a combination of medications, cortisone injections, and physical therapy. In rare cases, Dr. Pai might recommend surgery.

To find relief for back pain or slipped disc, call Pain Management Group LLC at 574-208-9593, or schedule an appointment online today.

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