Herniated disc causes
Sometimes, a herniated disc causes a variety of symptoms that can prevent you from living the active lifestyle you enjoy. While some lifestyle changes may help reduce symptoms, more severe herniated discs may require medical treatment.
This degenerative spine condition typically develops as a result of years of wear and tear, and can lead to chronic pain and symptoms later in life, if left untreated. In order to make sure that you are receiving the best methods of treatment for your condition, it is important to consult your physician about the cause of your herniated disc and the treatment options available to you. Your physician will be able to perform a physical evaluation and imaging in order to pinpoint the source of your pain, and then use that information to recommend treatments.
Why a herniated disc causes pain
A herniated disc occurs when a tear develops in the wall of the disc, allowing the inner disc material to seep into the spinal canal. This condition can sometimes go undetected in some people, usually when the inner disc fluid does not touch any surrounding nerves in the spine. However, if the herniated disc material does press against a nearby nerve, localized and radiating pain may develop. Additionally, a ruptured disc can cause a variety of other symptoms throughout the body, including pain, weakness and numbness in the nearby extremities.
The most common cause of disc deterioration is nothing more than the natural aging process of the spine. As we grow older, the components of the spine naturally begin to wear down, and a herniated disc can develop when the disc wall weakens and tears from continual pressure from the surrounding vertebrae. Additional causes of herniated discs include traumatic injury, obesity, poor posture and other lifestyle factors.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
The symptoms experienced from a herniated disc depends largely on your medical history and the location and severity of the damaged disc. An individual with a herniated disc in the neck, for example, may experience symptoms throughout the upper body, while a herniated disc in the lower back can lead to discomfort throughout the lower body. Generally speaking, the most common symptoms that a herniated disc causes include:
- Local pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness
- A feeling of heat or pins and needles
- Stiffness or soreness
- Diminished reflexes
Treatment options for a herniated disc
When a herniated disc causes prolonged pain, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss treatment options. In most cases, a combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), low-impact exercises, stretching techniques and heat therapy offers sufficient relief.
In the event that symptoms continue and your physician has recommended that you consider spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive procedures as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is used to treat herniated discs and other degenerative spine conditions by removing pressure on the pinched nerve that is causing your pain.
Our procedures offer safer, effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery because we use a minimally invasive approach to the spine. Instead of cutting through the muscles near the spine, our surgeons are able to move the muscles aside and access the spine through a small incision. The surgeon will then remove a portion of the damaged disc to relieve the pain of your condition. In some cases, the herniated disc may be removed entirely and replaced with an artificial disc.
For more information about our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.