A herniated disc is a problem with one of the rubbery discs separating the vertebrae in your spine. It occurs when a tear in the outer part of the disc (annulus fibrosis) and some softer material (nucleus pulposus) inside pushes out. The soft rubbery material pushes on the nerves coming out of your spinal cord. This can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms, legs, and torso. Therefore, it is essential to understand what causes herniated discs and how they can be treated.
Let’s learn more about herniated discs, the available treatment options, and where you can go for the treatment of herniated discs in Bloomfield & Rocky Hill, CT.
Causes of Herniated Discs
A herniated disc can occur due to age-related wear and tear on the spine or from an injury or trauma. Other factors like obesity, poor posture, lack of exercise, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle can also increase your risk of developing a herniated disc. If you have any of these risk factors, take steps to reduce them to lower your chances of developing a herniated disc.
Symptoms of Herniated Discs
Signs and symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on where your spine is located. The most commonly herniated disc is in the lower back region (L5-S1), and it causes symptoms, like lower back pain, leg pain, numbness in the affected area, tingling sensation, and muscle weakness. If your herniated disc is on the upper back, like around the cervical vertebrae (neck area), you might experience the same symptoms in your arms and shoulders. Depending on the severity of the herniation, you may also experience bladder or bowel dysfunction.
Dangers of a Herniated Disc
The primary danger associated with a herniated disc is that it can lead to nerve damage if left untreated. When the disc pushes out into an area where nerves are located, it can put pressure on these nerves and disrupt their function, resulting in various problems like permanent nerve damage. Some of the dreadful complications of herniated discs include:
- Bowel dysfunction – severe constipation or incomplete control of your bowel function
- Bladder dysfunction – loss of bladder control, i.e., urinary incontinence and urinary retention
- Muscle paralysis
- Muscle atrophy – when muscles are not supplied appropriately by their respective nerves, they tend to reduce in size (atrophy)
These symptoms need emergent treatment as they may lead to life-threatening complications.
Treatments for Herniated Discs
Most people with a herniated disc respond well to conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, rest/activity modification, medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), epidural steroid injections (ESIs), bracing/orthotics, acupuncture/massage therapy, etc. Heat/cold packs are also helpful in relieving pain associated with a herniated disc.
If these treatments don’t provide relief, surgery may be an option depending on the severity and location of the herniation. Surgery is typically reserved for cases where there is significant nerve root compression causing persistent debilitating symptoms despite conservative treatment attempts.
Herniated Discs Treatment in Bloomfield & Rocky Hill, CT
If you or someone you love is experiencing constant back pain or has a herniated disc, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention from Advanced Orthopedics New England. Our highly experienced and trained healthcare providers can give you the compassionate musculoskeletal care you need and deserve. To know more about our comprehensive services, call us today at (408) 356-0444 or request an appointment online through our website.