Can a Slipped Disc Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 4, 2014
Slipped discs are one of the most common spine conditions that we treat. Patients who suffer from a slipped disc can experience pain (mild to severe) and possible nerve damage. Treatment options are various, with no “one size fits all” cure. Many patients who develop a slipped disc are most worried about nerve damage. Can a slipped disc result in permanent nerve damage? If so, how long does it take for a slipped disc to cause permanent damage? These are the questions we will answer in today’s blog.
Slipped Discs & Nerve Damage
Slipped discs occur when a disc in the spine moves out of its proper position and presses against the nerves and other structures around the spine. In mild cases, a patient will feel some mild back pain in the area surrounding the slipped disc. In extreme cases, the impacted nerve can cause intense (sometimes debilitating) pain, as well as numbness or loss of feeling in different areas of the body.
Nerves also have the ability to repair themselves over time. If your slipped disc was pinching a nerve for an extended time and it caused loss of feeling or mobility, your functionality may return given enough time. That said, slipped discs that impact nerves severely enough for a long time may kill the nerve and cause permanent damage. It is difficult to say how quickly a damaged nerve will recover (if at all). Even a skilled spine surgeon can only make an educated guess. Nerve repair depends so much on the individual patient.
If you are experiencing pain from what you think might be a slipped disc or pinched nerve, make an appointment with a spine doctor right away. The longer you put off diagnosing and treating the condition, the greater the risk of permanent nerve damage.