The main cause of disc herniation is degeneration of the intervertebral disc due to aging. As we age, the water in the central core of the intervertebral disc (the soft-gelatinous nucleus pulposus) is loss and the elasticity (shock absorption) of the intervertebral disc slowly decreases. Even a slight strain or twisting action can cause the protrusion of the herniated disc to damage outer fibrous ring.
Many patients are not aware of the causes of their illness. The misuse of back muscles or the twisting of the waist and turning at the same time when lifting heavy objects are usually common causes. In addition, accidental injuries, such as from a fall or sudden bending of the waist can also cause disc herniation.
Patients with herniated discs tend to show no symptoms but clinically in most cases the cause of neck, back or foot pain (sciatica) are also related to herniated discs. Some patients may experience pain, paralysis or weakness along their hands or feet. Signs and symptoms depend on where the disk is situated.
90% of patients can achieve positive results with non-surgical treatments such as taking rest, medication, chiropractic treatment and physical therapy. In most cases there will be an obvious improvement after one to two months. If there is no obvious improvement with non-surgical treatments or the patient's condition is confirmed to be severe, the doctor generally will advise on surgical procedures. Non-surgical treatments include spinal correction, 3D spinal traction, extra-corporeal focused shock waves and high-energy laser treatments.
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