Is It Bad to Have an Untreated Herniated Disc?

Jan 10, 2024

Is It Bad to Have an Untreated Herniated DiscHave you ever noticed that something feels off with your body, like an ache in your neck or a tingling sensation in your arms that refuses to go away? As you start to notice these discomforts, you might gradually notice how movements that were once taken for granted now come with a twinge of discomfort. The journey to understanding the presence of an issue like a herniated disc involves unraveling the mystery behind the pain and going to see your Snellville chiropractor before it gets worse. However, when you’re dealing with a busy schedule, you might accidentally end up going through life for a time with an untreated herniated disc. When left untreated, a herniated disc can get worse and even lead to complications. Here’s everything you need to know about how to recognize a herniated disc and when to seek treatment so you can experience lasting relief.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Spinal discs are like shock absorbers for the spine and are located in between vertebrae for cushioning and support. Each spinal disc is made up of a soft, gel-like center covered by a tougher outer layer. A herniated disc, also sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, is a spinal condition that occurs when the jelly-like center of the disc leaks out or protrudes through a tear or rupture in the outer layer. When the inner material pushes through the outer layer, it can aggravate or compress nearby nerves, leading to various symptoms.

What Does a Herniated Disc Feel Like?

The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the location of the affected disc and nerve compression. However, common signs of a herniated disc often include:

  • Pain: The most common symptom is localized pain in the area of the disc herniation. For example, if the herniated disc is in your neck, you may experience pain in your neck and nearby, including your head or shoulders.
  • Numbness or Tingling: The pressure on nerves caused by the herniated disc can lead to numbness or tingling sensations. This can be felt in the area served by the affected nerve. For example, an aggravated nerve in the neck may cause tingling or numbness to extend into your shoulder, arm, and hand.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in certain muscles, especially those controlled by the affected nerves, may also occur. This weakness can impact mobility and coordination.
  • Worsening Pain with Movement: Certain movements or positions may exacerbate the pain. For instance, bending, lifting, or twisting could intensify discomfort.

Common Causes of a Herniated Disc

Several factors can lead to the development of a herniated disc. Age-related wear and tear, commonly known as disc degeneration, is a common cause. As people age, spinal discs slowly lose their jelly-like consistency and become less flexible, making them more prone to damage like tearing. Other common causes include sudden injuries or trauma, such as lifting heavy objects with improper form, twisting the spine forcefully, or experiencing a fall. Additionally, genetic predisposition, repetitive strain from certain activities, and excessive body weight can increase the risk of developing a herniated disc. Understanding these causes is crucial for both prevention and effective treatment of this relatively common spinal condition.

What Does an Untreated Herniated Disc Feel Like?

If a herniated disc is left untreated, the symptoms can persist and may even worsen over time. Potential consequences and long-term effects of an untreated herniated disc include:

  • Chronic Pain: The pain caused by a herniated disc may become chronic and more challenging to manage if left untreated. This can result in persistent discomfort and significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life.
  • Nerve Damage: Continued pressure on nerves from a herniated disc can result in nerve damage. This may lead to long-lasting numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected areas served by the compressed nerves.
  • Loss of Function: As nerve compression persists, this could lead to a progressive loss of function in the muscles controlled by the affected nerves. This can result in decreased mobility, coordination issues, and even muscle atrophy.
  • Impact on Daily Life: An untreated herniated disc can affect various aspects of daily life, making it difficult to perform regular tasks, participate in physical activities, or maintain a normal range of motion.
  • Increased Risk of Complications: In some cases, an untreated herniated disc can lead to complications such as the development of spinal stenosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can cause additional pain and other symptoms.

The Importance of Treatment for a Herniated Disc

The Importance of Treatment for a Herniated DiscVisiting your Snellville chiropractor for a herniated disc is crucial for several reasons, and early intervention can significantly impact your overall prognosis and quality of life. Spine specialists like your Snellville chiropractor or orthopedic doctor can provide you with an accurate diagnosis for your specific symptoms. Diagnosing a herniated disc may involve a combination of a physical exam, discussion of recent symptoms, and medical history. Your doctor may also recommend an X-ray or CT scan to pinpoint the location of the herniated disc. The sooner you see a doctor for a potential herniated disc, the sooner you can get started on the most effective treatment options for you. Spine specialists can provide you with treatment options, including pain management, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and other options for alleviating your symptoms and providing you with lasting relief.

Treatment Options for a Herniated Disc

Once you have an official diagnosis of a herniated disc, your Snellville doctor can create a treatment plan tailored to your specific symptoms and needs. Treatment options can range from conservative and non-invasive approaches to surgical interventions depending on the type and severity of your spinal condition. Timely diagnosis and treatment can make it possible to get more conservative treatment for a herniated disc, including chiropractic care. Your Snellville chiropractor can provide you with an all-natural treatment plan using chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic massage, and other drug-free techniques to resolve your symptoms and realign your spine. However, an untreated herniated disc may require more specialized care and you may need to explore surgical options, if necessary. A physical therapist can also help you regain flexibility and mobility that may have been impacted by the herniated disc.

Snellville Orthopedic for Untreated Herniated Disc 

At Prompt treatment for a herniated disc will help you avoid lingering pain and long-term complications. Find out more about what happens if you let a herniated disc go untreated and how AICA can help., our team of spine specialists work together to help improve each patient’s overall quality of life. We work together to develop individualized treatment plans that help reduce pain, restore healthy functioning, and minimize the impact of a herniated disc on your life. If you experience symptoms of a herniated disc, contact us today and get started on safe and effective treatment for this spinal condition. Our Snellville spine specialists are here to help you avoid the complications of an untreated herniated disc at AICA, where you can see your doctor and get any tests you need all in one, convenient location. Visit us to learn more about Snellville AICA Orthopedics near you.


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