The human spine is one of the most complicated and marvelous pieces of ingenuity and design that exists on the planet. It allows for flexibility, mobility, strength, as well as the relay of vital information. For all of its strengths and for all of its excellence in design, your spine is vulnerable to different types of injuries. One of the most common types of injuries the spine experiences is a herniated disc. Herniated discs come in three forms. There are cervical herniated discs, thoracic herniated discs, as well as lumbar herniated discs.
Cervical Herniated Discs
Your cervical spine is constructed with seven vertebrae. This is the upper part of your spine that controls the movement of your neck. When you have a herniated disc in the cervical part of your spine, you will likely feel the symptoms in your neck, in your arm, in your hand and in your fingers. Depending on the extent and location of the herniation, you may feel some pain in your shoulder.
If you have a C-4 – C-5 disc herniation, you’re going to feel shoulder pain as well as some weakness in your upper arm. It is unlikely that this will lead to numbness or tingling.
A C-5 – C6 herniation will cause your biceps to feel weak as well as the muscles in your upper arm. You may have some tingling and numbness, and it may be difficult for you to rotate your thumb.
A C6 – C7 herniated disc will lead to weakness in your triceps. This weakness will go down into your fingers and will be accompanied by pain and numbness that you will feel in your fingers. This is the most common place for a person to have a cervical disc herniation.
A C7 – T-1 cervical herniation will show itself with weakness in the hand grip. There will also be some numbness and tingling radiating down the arm.
Thoracic Herniated Discs
With a thoracic herniated disc, the number one symptom is pain. You may feel like you have chest pain or that you have stomach pain. Most people who have a thoracic herniated disc go to the doctor thinking that they have problems with their heart, their kidneys or their gastrointestinal system.
Thoracic herniated discs are connected to other problems such as numbness, difficulty balancing, weakness in your lower extremities, as well as bowel and bladder dysfunctions. There are different issues that will present themselves depending on the exact location of the herniation.
Lumbar Herniated Discs
The symptoms from a lumbar herniated disc usually only last for a short period of time. The symptoms are extremely painful and can be debilitating. The majority of the symptoms are felt in your lower extremities. If the herniated disc is putting pressure on your sciatic nerve, you will experience pain running down the leg on the affected side. You may experience numbness, muscle weakness, weakness in your feet, as well as muscle atrophy.
Thankfully, the majority of herniated discs, regardless of their location, can be effectively treated. During a consultation at Innovative Spine in San Antonio, you can learn about your options for treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!