My law partner, Matt Noyes, has created a legal blog to primarily discuss issues related to Workers’ Compensation matters. Matt recently discussed the herniated disk or disc. The following is an excerpt from his informative article.
Your doctor has told you that you have a herniated disc, but what does this mean to you? When the soft part between bones in the spine presses on the nerves around the backbone, it’s called a herniated disk. Sometimes this is called a ruptured disk. Other times it is called a protruding disk.
Herniated disks are most common in the lumbar spine–the part of your backbone between the bottom of your ribs and your hips. Disks are soft “cushions” between the bones of the spine. The spine holds up your body. It also protects your spinal cord and nerves. The disks in the spine let you move your backbone. When the disk is injured in a car accident or work injury, the outer part may tear. The inside part of the disk pushes through the tear and presses on the nerves beside it.
When part of a disk presses on a nerve, it can cause pain in both the back and the legs. The location of the pain depends on which disk is damaged. How bad the pain is depends on how much of the disk is pressing on the nerve. In most people with herniated disks, the pain spreads over the buttocks and goes down the back of one thigh and into the calf. Some people have pain in both legs. Some people’s legs or feet feel numb or tingly. The pain from a herniated disk is usually worse when you’re active and gets better when you’re resting. Coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving and bending forward may make the pain worse. The pain gets worse when you make these movements because they put more pressure on the nerve.