Spinal Decompression Toronto - Herniated Disc

Bulging and herniation describe abnormal conditions of an intervertebral disc that is commonly referred to as a “slipped” disc.  Although discs really don’t slip, they can bulge or protrude as a result of trauma or repetitive stress as well.

The process occurs when the inner nucleus pulposis (soft gel centre) bulges through the annulus fibrosis (tough outer fibres) causing a protruding disc which may push on a spinal nerve.  This can cause inflammation and progressive deterioration of the nerve root.

Neck herniations may cause arm pain, numbness and/or tingling; low back herniations may cause leg pain, numbness and/or tingling. This condition is referred to as a “radiculopathy”.  This is due to the fact that the nerves that exit your spinal cord innervate (attach to) the skin in your arms and legs (responsible for sensation), muscles in your arms and legs (responsible for movement) and reflexes in your arms and legs.

Herniations can be ascertained from a detailed consultation and physical examination.  However, the ‘gold standard’ for this diagnosis is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).  Surprisingly, disc bulges can occur in individuals with no symptoms at all.