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What Is a Slipped Disk?

Dr. Daniel Batlan

Dr. Daniel Batlan leads as the founding medical director of Specialized Pain Management in Henderson, Nevada, which is near Las Vegas, NV. There, Dr. Daniel Batlan oversees the treatment of herniated disks and other conditions that involve pain.

A herniated disk, known colloquially as a slipped disk, occurs when the shock-absorbing structures that lie between the vertebrae in the spine become damaged. Each of these shock absorbers includes a sturdy exterior ring that contains a soft gel-like interior. When healthy and intact, the rings cushion the vertebrae against impacts.
Sometimes, however, the outer ring of the intervertebral disk bulges or ruptures. Common in older individuals, as the water content that keeps each disk stable often deteriorates with age, herniation may also occur because of excess weight, poor muscle tone, a sedentary lifestyle, or overuse from lifting.
Patients with slipped disks may notice pain that worsens under certain circumstances, which may include prolonged standing or sitting. Some patients notice that discomfort extends to the limbs, while some find the pain is confined to one side of the body. Weakness, tingling, and numbness may also occur.
Many patients with slipped disks can find relief through physical therapy and lifestyle modifications, such as reduced heavy lifting. Others may require medication, while those with chronic pain may require surgery.

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