What is herniated disc?

Back aches are never pleasant. Other than the pain and discomfort induced, backaches also impede mobility as well. While there are many reasons for pain in the back, one common culprit is herniated disc.

What is herniated disc?

Our spine is composite of bones, the vertebrae, and discs that flank them. These are round and small structures that are hard on the outside and contain nucleus on the inside. Discs help the bone absorb shocks, and thus prevents from injury to the bones. 

Trouble looms when the nucleus gets pushed out of the shell, due to tear in the shell, into the rather narrow spinal canal. Due to the dearth of space, the nucleus pushed onto the mesh of nerves that runs along the canal.

Consequently, in most cases, patient undergoes intense pain, relieved by visiting the best Orthopedic Surgeon in Lahore. Whereas this condition can occur anywhere along the spine, it is more common in the lower back, which leads to pain down the leg as well. 

However, the rupture can also occur at the top of the spine as well, which results in pain in the arm as well. 


People with herniated discs tend to suffer from muscular weakness. As our nerves play an important role in the movement of muscles, hence, any stress to the nerve also leads to weakness in the muscles. The exact muscle affected depends on which nerve the disc presses on. 

Moreover, numbness is also experience in the areas that come under the domain of the affected nerve. 

Similarly, a sharp pain is also experienced in the limbs. Shoulder and arm are affected if the disc of the neck is herniated, whereas, hips, legs and even foot is affected if the problem is in the disc of the lower back. 

Movement also becomes difficult in the case of slipped disc. In some people, the pain gets worse at night, in others, certain movement lead to pain becoming worse. 


The topmost cause of herniated disc is aging. The gradual wear and tear results in what is known as disc degeneration. Therefore, in older individuals, even a slightest stain can result in disc herniation. 

Moreover, injury to the region can also lead to the disc getting ruptured. Strain to the back can also lead to herniated disc. At times, lifting heavy objects using back instead of the legs causes this condition as well. 

Risk factors 

People who are obese have higher risk of herniated disc. The excess weight puts strain on the back. Moreover, people with family history of have greater risk of herniated disc. 

Those who have to lift heavy object or do a lot of spinal movement are also have a higher propensity towards this condition. Similarly, smoking also increases the probability of herniated disc. Due to the reduced oxygen supply to the disc, the degeneration of the discs is accelerated. 


There are basically two types of treatment options available. One is the nonsurgical route, other is the surgical method.

 The nonsurgical treatment option is aimed at pain relief. Patients are prescribed bed rest, but it has to be timed well, as otherwise, too much inactivity can also aggravate the condition. 

Alongside this, pain killers like NSAIDs and physical therapy is also recommended. Patients with persistent pain are also then recommended epidural steroid injection. These injections reduce inflammation around the disc, thereby aid in pain reduction.

A small subset of people are prescribed surgical intervention, when the other treatment options fail. However, for those suffering from muscular weakness or bladder issues have surgical methods as primary treatment option. 

A common procedure is microdiscectomy, which involves making a small incision at the point of rupture of the disc. The herniated parts are removed, so that the pressure on the nerves is relieved. However, if the herniations are at multiple points, a more complicated procedure needs to be conducted. 

Surgical intervention is not without risks of its own. Probable issues include infection, nerve injury, hematoma and need for further surgeries as well. It is therefore important to consult the best Orthopedic Surgeon in Karachi for the appropriate treatment route. 


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