What to Do about a Herniated Disc

What to Do about a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of neck and back pain. In addition to pain, many people with a herniated disc experience abnormal sensations, such as tingling and numbness. This happens when the spongy layer of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your spinal bones is displaced.

As Spine specialists in the field of neurology, our team at Premier Neurology Medical Group helps patients with neck and back problems, like herniated discs, recover and feel good again. 

What is a herniated disc?

Intervertebral discs play a key role in providing a cushion between the bones of your spine, allowing you to move and flex easily. These discs are composed of a jelly-like core and a tougher outer exterior. A herniated disc develops when the softer components of the disc are pushed (herniation) through the disc's elastic outer matrix. This can cause the disc to press against sensitive nerve roots that travel along the spinal canal. 

A bulging disc occurs when acute force or sustained pressure changes the shape of the disc between the two vertebrae that it supports. In a ruptured disc, the exterior part of the disc breaks, and the interior content squirts out. Both conditions can cause nerve root or spinal cord compression.

Herniated and bulging discs can occur anywhere along the spinal column, including the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.

Who’s at risk of a herniated disc?

While disc herniation can affect anyone, we often see it in adults between 30 and 50 because age-related changes to the spine make it more vulnerable to issues such as disc herniation. 

Additionally, women are more likely to develop a herniated disc. Intervertebral discs may lose their cushioning ability and become more prone to rupture as people age. Herniated discs also run in families, so genetics may play a role. Of course, sudden or overuse injuries can cause disc herniation as well.

Conservative treatment for herniated disc

Fortunately, we can successfully treat most cases of back or neck pain caused by a herniated disc without surgery. Conservative treatment is often the first strategy to alleviate pain and help you feel better. We typically recommend rest and decreased activity to give your body time to heal. 

When that isn’t enough, anti-inflammatory medication and/or physical therapy are often helpful. If your pain interferes with your quality of life and is not resolved by non-surgical therapy, you may be a candidate for surgery. 

If you experience progressive neurological abnormalities, such as limb weakness or numbness, loss of normal bowel or bladder functions, or trouble walking, surgery may be advised.

Surgical treatment for disc herniation

Depending on the circumstances of your case, our team may refer you for herniated disc surgery. During this treatment, the neurosurgeon removes the bulging disc fragment that is compressing or irritating the spinal cord or nerves and creating discomfort. 

In most cases, we can use a minimally invasive approach, which involves using specialized devices to operate through smaller incisions. Among the advantages are:

Surgery effectively alleviates neurological abnormalities, like tingling and numbness, eases pains, and helps patients get back to their life. 

You can rely on Premier Neurology for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of back pain caused by a herniated disc. Get started today on the path to recovery by scheduling a visit with us or submitting your booking request online. Call 310-438-5268 to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members.

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