Discs are soft, rubbery pads that are found between the vertebrae of the spinal cord. The spinal canal is a hollow space in the middle of the spinal column that contains the spinal cord and other nerve roots. The rubbery offer give the flexibility to the back for bending and flexing. Discs also act as shock absorbers during an accident or a trauma.
A herniated disc can only be diagnosed after a complete medical examination is conducted and patient history obtained. A herniated disc is often detected by neck pain that slowly extends to the leg or the arms. Various tests help determine how serious the nerve roots are affected. An x-ray is the least invasive method in determining changes in the spine. However other tests may be necessary in the assessment of the spine, including Magnetic Resonance Imagine (MRI), Computed Tomography Scans (CT Scan), and Electromyography (measures nerve impulses to the muscles).
A herniated disc, if not seriously injured, will improve with time and some treatment measures. These measures include rest, muscle relaxers, analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications and the use of ice packs applied in regular intervals. Strenuous physical activity should be avoided as well as sitting and standing for long periods of time. Strengthening exercise often prove beneficial to the patient’s recovery.