Herniated discs in your spine are a common cause of back pain and conditions like sciatica and cervical radiculopathy. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a herniated disc, Jinghui Xie, MD, at Caring Pain Management in North and Central New Jersey and New York City, can help. Using the most advanced treatments, Dr. Xie specializes in relieving pain and improving function for patients affected by problems like herniated discs.
A herniated disc develops when the interior tissue protrudes through the outer layer.
Each vertebra in your spine has a disc between it and the next vertebra. Inside the disc is a jelly-like substance, which is protected by a tough outer shell. The discs safeguard your vertebrae from shock by acting as cushions, absorbing the energy that travels up your spine.
If the tough outer shell gets damaged or weakened, the soft insides can bulge outward through the weak spot. If the shell ruptures, the inside tissue pushes out (herniates).
You can get a herniated disc in any part of your spine. However, discs in the lumbar (lower) section of your spine and the cervical (neck) section are more likely to herniate than the thoracic (central) discs.
You could have a herniated disc and not realize it, because they don’t always cause symptoms. The problem with a herniated disc is that the protruding tissue can press on nerves in the spinal canal. This pressure produces pain and other unpleasant sensations, including:
● Numbness● Tingling● Prickling● Burning● Weakness
Cervical herniated discs cause symptoms in your neck that can radiate into your shoulders, chest, arms, and hands. Lumbar herniated discs cause lower back pain that can radiate into your buttocks, hips, and legs.
Herniated discs can be a result of sudden trauma, such as an auto accident or fall that puts extreme pressure on your spine and ruptures the disc. In most cases, however, a herniated disc develops more slowly due to the gradual deterioration of the discs.
Aging, poor posture, and repeated wear and tear can lead to degenerative disc disease, which causes the discs to harden and flatten. This weakens the discs and makes them more likely to bulge and herniate.
Your genes and other factors like smoking can also increase your chances of suffering a herniated disc.
Once Dr. Xie diagnoses a herniated disc, she creates a personalized treatment program for you. Initial treatments are likely to include conservative and minimally invasive approaches such as:
● Pain medications● Anti-inflammatories● Physical therapy● Gentle exercise● Pulse stimulation treatment™ (PSTIM)● Epidural steroid injections● Nerve blocks
These treatments are effective for most people who have bulging or herniated discs. However, surgery like minimally invasive lumbar decompression (mild®) might be necessary for some patients if no other treatments are helping.