Every year in the United States, more than 3 million cases of herniated discs are reported, making this one of the most common injuries causing back pain.
A herniated disc occurs when the fragile inner material of the spine’s vertebrae shift out of place. The surgeons at Texas Back Institute note that in the spine, a disc is localized between vertebral bodies. It supports the spine by acting as a shock-absorbing cushion. In some instances, the central shock absorbing component of the disc (called the nucleus pulposus), protrudes through the outer casing of the disc (called the annulus) and can compress the nerve or the spinal cord and cause pain from nerve compression or cause spinal cord dysfunction. The medical term for nerve compression is “radiculopathy” and the term for spinal cord compression is “myelopathy.”
Spine Health Awareness Month is a good time to take a closer look at this condition and how it is treated.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
According to the spine specialists at Texas Back Institute, the most frequent symptom of a herniated disc in the lower back is pain radiating from this region into one or both legs. Similarly, in the cervical spine (upper part of the spine), pain radiates into the arms.
Take a few minutes to learn about this painful injury from TBI spine surgeon, Dr. Rey Bosita.
Treatment of a Herniated Disc
The spine surgeons at Texas Back Institute are world-class, and the treatment of herniated discs is something in which they specialize.
When a member of the TBI team evaluates a new patient, initial conservative management involves observation, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and plain x-rays. If conservative measures are not helping with the pain, a spinal injection of steroids may be used to decrease the symptoms.
If symptoms are not getting better or if the nature of the compression is threatening the function of the nerve, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the nerve. There are many options for the surgical treatment of a herniated disc, including micro-surgical techniques may be used to remove the disc fragment in the lower back, disc replacement to preserve mobility in the spine, and sometimes spinal fusion surgery.
Do you have questions about the pain you’re experiencing in your back or neck? Email us at email@example.com to set an appointment or to speak with a spine expert.