The herniated disc is one of many injuries that can occur in the spine, especially frequent in the cervical and lumbar regions.
Herniated disc the spine is formed by a set of vertebrae that are on top of each other. They have an area that we call vertebral body, which is the largest area of the vertebra. Between each vertebral body there is a disc that acts as a shock absorbed. If you look at the image we see a side view of a lumbar spine. The vertebrae are white and the disks are blue. What is in yellow are the marrow and nerves, which are the nerve structures that are protected by the spine.
A herniated disc is the rupture or injury of the structure of the disc that causes part of its contents to leave its site and occupy areas where it should not be. If we look at the photo, we see a disk seen from above and we see how an area has left its site and is touching one of the nerve roots that pass by.
The herniated disc is one of the lesions most known and feared by popular culture but the reality is quite different from what is thought. Within the hernias I will also include the disc protrusions because it equally disturbs the patients. The protrusion would be a less advanced phase of the injury.
The typical situation sounds like this: A patient begins with a pain in the lower back that he thought would be removed in two days and spends two weeks and still in pain. Doubts begin as to whether it will be more serious than one thought, so we went to the doctor. The doctor asks for an MRI (which is an imaging test to help the doctor in diagnosis) and here the problem starts.
While we wait for the results some neighbor or some internet page tells us how terrible it is to have a herniated disc. A week later we collect the results of our resonance and the worst of omens is fulfilled. In a folio composed of two written paragraphs, we discover among its lines the word herniated disc. From that moment the pain becomes more acute, as well as the anguish and the sensation of sudden worsening. “What bad luck, in the end it will happen to me like the neighbor of 5ºC that already has 6 operations?”
Well the reality is that this is just a terrible misunderstanding. Hernias are a part of our aging and most will not even be the culprits of the pain we are suffering. And most of the herniated discs that do cause us pain will only do so during the days or weeks after the injury and then all traces of pain will disappear. That is, does the hernia heal? Yes, it heals; Understanding healing as health, well-being and absence of pain, not with the aim of having a very beautiful resonance.
In most lumbar or cervical pains the important thing is not the lesion we see in MRI, but other issues that we will try in future posts.
Of the herniated discs that we see in consultation, only a few will produce complications, which is usually due to the pinching of a nerve root, which can cause intense pain or sometimes, if the nerve is injured, the muscles of the legs can be affected Or arms. But even in these complicated cases, only a few will require surgical intervention or have squeal.
In summary, most lumbar lesions are benign, including herniated discs, and will heal with simple measures. Preventing new injuries and relapses requires a certain learning effort and good habits that we will discuss on this website. For all this, having a herniated disc by itself means very little and should not be the cause that causes us concern.
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