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What causes a herniated disc, and what are the symptoms?
Disc herniation occurs when the cushions around the discs are damaged, causing a bulge or rupture. Herniated discs happen most frequently in the neck and lower back. Normal aging can lead to disc herniation. Fluid in the discs leaks, reducing flexibility, and various injuries can lead to tiny rips in the outside of the disc. The gel-like substance inside the disc is forced out through these tears, causing the disc to bulge, burst, or break. Herniated discs in the neck cause numbness, pain, weakness in the neck, shoulder, chest, arms, and hands.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Our orthopedists will talk with you about your symptoms and history of pain and numbness and will perform a physical exam. For further information – and if rest doesn’t improve your symptoms – he or she might order an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Conservative treatments, including rest, decreased activities, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy and traction – a gentle, steady pulling on the head to stretch the neck and spread the bones – are also treatment options. For persistent symptoms, doctors could prescribe corticosteroids or recommend surgery.
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