Herniated discs are a hazardous condition that can endanger and incapacitate one should the problem reach a certain degree of severity. But what age is the most at risk for a herniated disc?
Herniated discs can hypothetically affect anyone of any age, but are most commonly experienced by those between the ages of 30 and 50.
What Age Is the Most at Risk for a Herniated Disc?
If you’re worried that you might be at risk for a herniated disc, or just want to know more about this condition so that you’re more prepared to handle it if it comes up, take a look at this guide that describes some of the elements of this medical situation.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a term that refers to a type of mild spinal injury. The spinal cord is composed of vertebrae that are separated by cushions and discs that prevent the vertebrae from grinding on each other. These types of injuries are treated by a spine surgeon.
When one of these cushions becomes damaged or breaks, the vertebrae it separates begin to grind each other down. This can be a source of considerable friction and pain. The most common places to experience a herniated disc are in the neck and lower back, while middle-back herniated discs are rarer.
Who’s at Risk For a Herniated Disc?
As stated before, those of ages 30-50 are the most at risk for incurring a herniated disc. Men are much more likely to suffer this type of injury than women. Some activities that could be considered risky include:
- Sitting for overly long periods of time
- Being obese
- Lifting heavy objects
- Engaging in repetitive motions for long periods of time
- Smoking tobacco
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
The symptoms of a herniated disc can be subtle, or they can be obvious depending on the severity of the injury. There are differences between slipped discs in the neck and the lumbar spine. In general, some of the things you’re going to want to look out for include:
- Back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness in the legs or feet
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Pain that increases when bending or turning your neck
- Neck pain in the back and sides or your neck
- Pain that ravels to your shoulders and arms
You’ll be able to hone in on how to focus your recovery efforts based on where exactly you’ve incurred the injury. This can be determined by a medical specialist during a diagnosis.
Diagnosing A Herniated Disc
There are several tools that one can use in order to diagnose a herniated disc. Some of the more common ones include:
- MRI: This is the most common method to use for diagnosis.
- X-rays: X-rays can help to rule out other injuries that might be causing back pain
- Computed tomography: CT scans can show the bones of your spine, which can tell one where exactly abnormalities are occurring.
- Myelogram: Myelograms can reveal a narrowing of the spinal canal and the exact location of your herniated disc.
- Electromyogram: This is a type of test that involves placing small needles into various muscles to evaluate the function of your nerves. This can help determine what exact nerves a herniated disc is affecting.
When to See a Doctor
Sometimes the severity of a herniated disc can reach a point where interference is necessary. Here we list some of the symptoms of a severely herniated disc:
- Symptoms do not improve after four to six weeks
- Symptoms increase in severity
- You develop a loss of bladder or bowel control
- You start to notice tingling, numbness, or a general loss of strength
- You have difficulty standing or walking
- The pain begins to interfere with your daily life in some way
All of these symptoms may indicate that you need to seek out advanced medical care in order to return to a semblance of normality in your day-to-day existence. Some of the primary options available for treatment include:
- Medication: Anti-inflammatories, pain relievers and muscle relaxants can all be used to some effect.
- Physical Therapy: Certain exercises can relieve pain on the nerves.
- Spinal Injections: Steroidal spine injections can relieve pain and inflammation.
- Surgery: If the disc is applying pressure to fragile essential organs, emergency surgery may be necessary.
The Herniated Disc Expert of LA
Dr. Yashar and the rest of his team are completely dedicated to serving LA the best when it comes to addressing issues such as herniated discs. If you’re worried that you’re experiencing a herniated disc, or would like to discuss whether or not you’re at risk, contact us today in order to discuss your options with a herniated disc specialist.