What is a herniated spinal disk?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2023 | Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injuries |

Work injuries can put you out of commission and unable to perform essential duties. This is often the case with herniated spinal disks, which are injuries that cause discomfort while also limiting mobility.

While not necessarily a serious medical condition, disk herniation can put a major damper on your life and career. This guide explains what causes it and how you can find the right treatment.

Causes of herniated disks

Spinal disks cushion the bones in the vertebrae that compose the spine. In addition to a hard exterior, disks have a soft interior. This softer exterior can sometimes protrude out from the disk, which is what causes symptoms.

While the problem becomes more common with age, it can also result from other issues. For instance, failing to lift heavy items properly can easily lead to disk herniation. Accordingly, people with jobs that entail lots of physical activity usually have a higher risk.


Some people experience no symptoms with a herniated disk. In other cases, it may cause pain within the extremities, depending on the location of the disk. If it is in the neck, you may feel pain in the arms, while a herniated lower back disk causes pain in the legs. Sensations of numbness are also common, as is muscle weakness due to nerve involvement.

Types of treatment

Conservative treatment is typically the first course of action, which entails pain medications and limiting activities until the symptoms cease. When discomfort and dysfunction are more serious, doctors may recommend physical therapy to relieve symptoms. In severe cases, surgery can remove the extending soft portion of the disk to improve function and prevent complications, like loss of bladder control.

In terms of prevention, make sure you maintain good posture at work when performing physical activities. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help you avoid spinal issues.

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