If you experience chronic spinal column pain, a herniated disc might be to blame. As we grow older, we become susceptible to the onset of degenerative disc disease – a condition that is produced by the weakening of the intervertebral discs that normally cushion the spine. Over the years, these discs lose water and protein content and can become brittle, causing annular tears to develop in the tough, fibrous outer shells of the discs. When this happens, the gel-like nucleus material of the disc can seep through the tear and enter the spinal canal, forming a herniated disc. Treatment for this condition and subsequent spinal column pain is normally accomplished with conservative techniques, although surgical adjustment is occasionally warranted.
Symptoms of a herniated disc
A herniated disc is an interesting condition because it is not necessarily symptomatic. In fact, many people live their lives without ever knowing they have herniated discs. However, this condition can cause significant spinal column pain if the herniated disc material seeps into the spinal canal and comes into contact with a nerve, nerve root or the spinal cord itself. Depending on the specific nerve that is compressed, a number of symptoms can present, including:
- Local pain
- Traveling pain
- Unexpected muscle weakness
- Soreness or stiffness
- Numbness and tingling
- A feeling of pins and needles
In order to effectively treat a herniated disc, it is important to visit a physician to determine the cause, severity and location of the problem. Once the diagnosis is complete, the physician will likely recommend any of a number of conservative, non-invasive treatments, assuming the patient’s pain isn’t debilitating or rapidly growing worse. Pain medication, low-impact exercises and the application of heat are particularly effective:
If you continue to experience spinal column pain after several weeks of treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons might be able to provide you with the pain relief you require with one of our minimally invasive procedures.