Disc herniation symptoms vary widely depending on the location of the degenerative disc and nerve compression. For some people, a herniated disc might mean local, chronic neck or back pain. For others, disc deterioration can cause sciatica or symptoms in the hands and fingers. The variable from patient to patient is the location of the nerve irritation relative to the spine, which is why correctly diagnosing the presence of disc herniation often requires medical imagery and the experience of a spine specialist. There are no real clear cut symptoms of a herniated disc, just those of nerve compression.
A herniated disc is something that countless Americans experience without knowing it. The condition only becomes painful when the herniated disc has caused nerve compression in the spinal column. It is this nerve irritation that leads to the disc herniation symptoms that we commonly associate with spinal degeneration, such as chronic pain, traveling pain, numbness and tingling.
To better understand the specific disc herniation symptoms requires a closer look at the spinal anatomy. The brain sends and transmits a variety of sensory signals throughout the body by way of the spinal cord and an unfathomably complex infrastructure of nerves. When this flow of information is interrupted – in this case by a herniated disc – the body reacts with pain. Muscle weakness can also follow if the nerve that innervates a particular muscle group is damaged.
Treatment for disc herniation is usually a combination of pain management and healing techniques. Somewhat surprisingly, a torn intervertebral disc can sometimes heal on its own, so it is important to put yourself in a position to recover. There is no clearly defined path to relief, but most physicians believe in beginning treatment conservatively, gradually increasing the intensity and invasiveness of the treatment as needed.
Conservative treatment can include:
• Pain medication
• Heat therapy
• Physical therapy or massage
• Limited rest and spine stabilization
• Stretching classes
In the event that your disc herniation symptoms persist through non-surgical treatment and you are looking for more lasting relief, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the numerous benefits of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.