What is a Herniated Disc?
When you have pain in your back or neck, a herniated disc could be the cause. This type of disc problem occurs when the interior part of a spinal disc pushes through the outer part. Herniated discs can cause considerable pain that can grow worse over time, but there are ways to treat this problem.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Having a herniated disc can cause you to have pain in your back or neck, along with pain in surrounding areas. Herniated discs in the upper spine can cause neck pain and arm or shoulder pain, while herniated discs in the lower part of the spine can cause back pain and pain in the leg or flank. Pain from this type of disc problem can feel more severe at times, such as when you make sudden movements that involve the affected part of your body. Herniated discs can also cause tingling and muscle weakness. Keep in mind that not all herniated discs cause noticeable symptoms though.
Causes of a Herniated Disc
You can develop a herniated disc for several reasons, but the most common is because of gradual deterioration due to the aging process. Your spinal discs can become more rigid over time as they lose some of the fluid inside them. This increases your risk of damaging your discs, such as when you move certain ways that strain the affected area. You’re more likely to have disc herniation if you’re overweight since this puts more strain on your spinal discs. Your risk is also higher if you have a job that involves doing a lot of lifting or straining your back. Having a genetic predisposition for herniated discs can also increase your risk of having this type of disc problem.
When to Seek Medical Care
If you have a herniated disc with symptoms that get worse or don’t improve over time, you should seek medical care. You might need to see a specialist about your condition if you have symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day activities or severe pain that doesn't go away, even with home care measures. When you see a specialist, you can expect to have imaging tests done to evaluate your disc problem and narrow down treatment options.
Treatments for a Herniated Disc
Home care measures, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, don’t always provide enough relief. You might need to discuss other options with a specialist, such as physical therapy or surgery to remove the damaged part of the disc. You’re more likely to end up needing surgery if you have numbness in the affected area, trouble walking or an inability to control your bladder or bowels.
If you’re having symptoms of a herniated disc, please contact us at Capital City Neurosurgery to schedule an appointment. Our neurosurgeon can discuss treatment options with you for effective pain relief.