Herniated Disc (Sciatica)
Disc herniations occur when there is a rupture of the outer disc covering, allowing the inner portion to squeeze out, compressing your spinal cord/nerves in and around your spinal canal. Discs are the soft cushions that act as shock absorbers between your vertebrae. They consist of a soft central portion (nucleus pulposus) and harder outer covering (annulus fibrosis). These herniations can occur acutely from a specific event or can develop slowly over time and can occur throughout the spine (cervical, thoracic, or lumbar). Symptoms can vary from neck/back pain to shooting pain/numbness/ weakness in the arms/legs. If there is spinal cord compression, patients may experience difficulty with balance, manual dexterity, or controlling bowel/bladder function, among other symptoms. Treatment varies by severity and duration of symptoms but can involve nonoperative and operative techniques.