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Disc Herniations

Disc Herniations

Impacting any portion of the spinal cord, a herniated disc is a very familiar injury that can generate intense pain and other issues in the arms and legs.

What are disc herniations?

These disks in between the vertebrae are like rubber donuts with a jelly center inside a sturdy exterior. Otherwise known as a slipped disk or ruptured disk, a herniated disc happens when the soft “jelly” center forcibly leaks out through a tear in the tough and sturdy exterior (of the disc). This leak or bulge creates harmful pressure on the nearby nerve roots resulting in pain, weakness, and numbness in the arm or leg.

Herniated discs commonly result from age-related degradation of the spinal discs. This is often referred to as disc degeneration. This natural process happens slowly over an extended period of time as a consequence of normal wear and tear on the spinal column. Back injuries due to impact or from excessive and improper lifting of heavy objects can also result to herniated discs.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations?

The symptoms depend upon where the disc herniation occurs. In most cases, disc herniation occurs in the lumbar spine or lower back. In some cases, though, they can occur in the cervical spine or the neck. The following are the common symptoms of disc herniation: pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

If the herniated disc occurs in the lower back, the symptom includes pain in the back, buttocks, thigh, and legs. It may even radiate down to the foot. If the herniation occurs in the neck, then the pain will typically be felt in the neck, shoulders, and arm. The pain worsens when you sneeze, cough, or do certain positions.

Aside from the pain, people with herniated discs may also experience tingling or numbness in the body parts affected. In some cases, muscle weakness is also a symptom. This may weaken your legs or cause you to stumble or walk awkwardly, or it may impair your ability to hold or lift items. However, there are cases when people with disc herniation do not know that they have it because they don’t experience any symptoms.

What causes disc herniations?

The common cause of disc herniation is age-related. As people age, the spinal discs lose their water content. This makes them less flexibility, making them prone to cracks or tears. This is why herniated discs are often related to disc degeneration. Aside from gradual wear and tear brought about by aging, other causes of disc herniation include injury such as those occurring when lifting large and heavy objects. In rare cases, a trauma caused by a blow to the back or a fall may lead to herniated disc.

There are also factors that increase your risk of developing herniated disc. They are as follows: weight, strenuous physical activities, and genetics.

How are disc herniations treated?

Treatments for disc herniations include conservative and non-conservative options. Conservative options include a combination of physical therapy, ice and heat application, chiropractic manipulation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotic pain medication, oral steroids, and epidural injections. These are used to manage pain, relieve pressure and discomfort, and provide relief.

In severe and emergency cases, surgery and minimally-invasive procedures are the best options.

In treating disc herniations, the primary goal is to relieve the symptoms, particularly the pain. The treatment is then based on the individual needs of the patient and factors like the severity and source of pain. As pain specialists, AZ Pain and Spine offers pain management services and treatment options for disc herniations.

AZ Pain and Spine Institute
Disc Herniations Treatments

Here at Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we improve our patients’ quality of life by alleviating and managing their pain. Some of our Disc Herniations treatments include:

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Why choose AZ Pain and Spine Institute to treat your Disc Herniations?

We have a team of medical practitioners, pain management doctors, and staff who are experts on pain management, including Disc Herniations. We use state-of-the-art technology and effective approaches in achieving our mission. We care about your well-being and are committed to making your life pain-free.