Herniated Disc Spinal Disc Herniation Essay

Pages: 3 (1161 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Anatomy

al. 2005).

Location and Position- Symptoms are typically experienced on only one side of the body and generally in the lumbar region. Typically, less than 4% of the cases occur in the thoracic area. The position of the hernia also depends on the manner in which it affects other discs. Cervical herniations occur most often between the fifth and sixth or sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae (C5/6 or C6/7). Lumbar disc herniations occur in the lower back, usually between the 4/5 lumbar region or between the 5th lumbar and sacrum. The sciatic nerve is the most common to be affected, causing burning pain that radiates intensely. Similarly, if the femoral nerve is involved, the patient might experience additional numbness and even a burning feeling in legs and hips (Postacchini; Baldwin, et.al., 2011).

Diagnosis and Modality -- Diagnosis is usually made when patients complain of certain symptoms and location of the injury. Typically, imaging studies are needed to confirm or rule out other issues like tumors, lesions, or metastases (Baldwin).

Radiographic Issues- Six types of imaging studies are available when herniated discs are suspected, depending again on location, severity of pain, reported cause, and/or patient's age and lifestyle:

X-Ray -- X-Rays are limited in their ability to image any soft tissue, but can rule out tumors, infections or fractures.

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CAT -- Computed Tomography shows the shape and size of the spinal canal and structures, including soft tissue. Depending on the herniation site, it is still sometimes difficult to completely see the affected area.

MRI -- Magnetic resonance images shows the spinal cord, nerves and surrounding areas at a higher resolution than a CAT scan. It is usually the image of choice for most herniated disc evaluations.

Myelogram -- This is an x-ray of the spinal canal after the patient is given a contrasting injection. This reveals displacement of the contrast material and can find tumors, spurs or herniated discs.

Essay on Herniated Disc Spinal Disc Herniation, Assignment

Nerve Conduction or EMG -- Nerve conduction studies introduce an electrical current that is measured as it travels on a nerve root, which shows whether there is actual ongoing nerve damage.

TMS - Transcranial Magnetic Simulations measure the time needed for neural impulses to move up and down the spine. It aids in assessing healing or areas of damage (Wilmink, 2009).

Treatment- Treatment is dependent upon severity of injury and area(s) affected. It can range from non-surgical methods (anti-inflammatories or pain medication) combined with stretching and exercising; physical therapy (massage, traction or electrical stimulation); steroid injections; weight control and body mechanics; spinal manipulation, to surgery as a last resort. Surgery can dissolve the disc, remove portions of the disc or rupture, fuse discs or replace them. Surgical goals, though, have risks for additional nerve damage, and include relief of pain, nerve compression, and the patient's ability to return to normal function (Mayo Clinic).


Herniated Disc. (2012) MedlinePlus. Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov


Baldwin, J., et.al., (2011). Lumbar (Intervertebral) Disk Disorders. Medscape Reference.

Retrieved from: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/827016-overview

Ernst, C., et.al. (2005). Prevalence of Annual Tears on Disc Herniations. European Journal of Raditiology. 55 (3); 409-14. Retrieved from: http://www.ejradiology.com/article/S0720-

048X (04)00362-6/abstract

Mayo Clinic. (2012). Herniated Disc -- Causes. Mayoclinic.com. Retrieved from:


Postacchini, F. (1999). Lumbar Disc Herniation. New York: Springer.

Wilmink, J. (2009). Lumbar Spinal Imaging. New York: Springer. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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