A herniated disk is a serious spinal cord injury that often results in chronic pain or discomfort. Despite this, many people don't seek out treatment for the issue in a timely manner. While there may be understandable reasons for this, letting a herniated disk go untreated can eventually lead to these two major consequences.
You May Eventually Lose Control of Waste Functions
In addition to keeping you upright, the bones in your spine are designed to protect your spinal cord, which is how your brain sends and receives signals to and from the rest of your body. If something damages your spinal cord or the nerves and blood vessels around it, you could lose controls of your body and even die because the brain can't communicate with the parts that keep you alive.
A herniated disk throws the spine out of alignment, which can result in the nerve compression. Depending on the severity and location of the herniation, this can lead you to develop cauda equina syndrome. The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves located at the bottom of the spinal cord that's responsible for sending and receiving messages from the lower body and the pelvis. Compression of these nerves and result in reduced communication with the brain and lead to incontinence or difficulty eliminating waste as well as loss of motor control.
This may happen gradually or all at once, and immediate surgery is typically required to repair the problem and prevent further damage. Thus, if you notice you seem to be having a problem holding your waste or are unable to go despite using various remedies as well as experience altered sensations in your lower body (including loss of sexual function), get evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
You Could Become Paralyzed
As noted previously, a slipped disk throws the spine out of alignment, often resulting in undue pressure being placed on the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles in the affected area. However, a slipped disk can also lead to the weakening of the spinal bones if the disk flattens enough the adjacent spinal bones begin grinding together. This can lead to a whole host of problems including severe nerve damage if those bones collapse or shift in ways that damages the surrounding structures.
As a result, you could eventually become paralyzed as you lose more and more of your motor control. Nerve damage is irreparable. So, it's important to have your herniated disk treated to avoid the possibility of acquiring a preventable disability.
For more information about treating a herniated disk, contact a local chiropractor, such as at Progressive Chiropractic.