Herniated disc or also called as slippped disc is one of the most common diseases, the highest prevalence is among people aged 30-50 years, with a male to female ratio of 2:1. Herniated disc is a displacement of the disc material (nucleus pulposus or annulus fibrosus) beyond the intervertebral disc space. 

The human vertebral coloumn consists of 24 vertebras, 7 for the neck (cervical), 12 for the back (thoracalis) and 5 for the lower back (lumbar). These are separeted from each other by intervertebral discs. There are 8-9 more vertebras, which are fused in adults, 5 in the sacrum and 3-4 in tailbone.

The human spine gives the stability of the body and also the flexibility, that is why it's a complicated structure. To let the vertebras move freely there are intervertebral discs between them, which are more adaptable than bones. The disc has a soft, jelly like inner part, the nucleus pulposus and a more stable, laminated outer part, the annulus fibrosus. Due to overload the intervertebral disc may be damaged. The first station of degeneration is disc protrusion when the outer layer is still intact, but can bulge under pressure. Later on the outer part of the disc slowly gets torn from the inside, the inner part gets over it, this is called herniated disc.

Causes of disc herniation

  • overload
  • poor posture
  • weak core muscles
  • spine deformation
  • specific diseases

Symptoms of disc herniation

  • local pain in the neck or lower back
  • arm or leg pain
  • headache
  • numbness, tingling
  • weakness

At first stages disc herniation can be treated by physiotherapy with good outcome. Operation can be avoided with special physiotherapy program.

Treatment of disc herniation

  • massage
  • trigger point therapy
  • McKenzie therapy
  • ultrasound and electrotherapy if needed
  • specail exercise programme for core stabilisation
  • advices on ergonomics

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