Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

Symptoms and causes of a herniated disc

On Behalf of | May 19, 2017 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Injuries

One of the most common causes of back injuries is a herniated disc, which is different from a “hernia.” Although this type of back injury is common, it can also lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort and, in the worst cases, be debilitating.

To give context, a person’s spine is made up of a series of small bones called vertebrae. Each vertebra has some padding, called a disc, between it. As a person ages, some of the water in the padding will escape, making the disc more rigid and easier to bulge or even break. When a disc gets malformed, it is “herniated” and begins to affect nerves and other parts of the body, causing pain and other symptoms.

Usually, a herniated disc is caused simply by ordinary wear and tear on the body. In other words, living life can cause a herniated disc, especially as one ages and especially if there is a family history of this sort of condition. Sometimes, though, a herniated disc can be attributed to a specific injury or action. For example, trying to lift an awkward object or having to twist or bend in the middle of a lift can bring on a herniated disc.

The most common symptom of a herniated disc is pain. How much pain someone can tolerate of course depends on the individual, but in many cases, the pain alone can stop a Houston resident in his or her tracks, making it hard for him or her to earn an income and pay basic bills. Other symptoms can include weakness or numbness in the extremities. In severe cases, incontinence or even paralysis is possible.

When someone has a herniated disc that requires treatment, they will have substantial medical expenses and will likely also have to lose some income. While, hopefully, the condition will be successfully treated, those who are not able to return to work may consider seeking out Social Security disability benefits for their injuries.