Your spine is a complex and vital part of your body that houses your spinal cord and allows you to move, stand, and walk. But because it sustains wear and tear on a daily basis, your spine is also susceptible to disorder, dysfunction, and injury.
One of the most common spinal injuries is a herniated disc, a painful problem that can lead to major mobility issues when it goes untreated. In some cases, surgical repair may be the best solution.
At Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Texas, our expert team specializes in treating painful spine conditions. Dr. Jason Kouri, Dr. Aminidhan Thakkar, Dr. Carlos Vazquez, and Mabel Francisco can help you figure out the best path forward when you’re suffering from a herniated disc.
Your spinal column is made up of specialized bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae give your spine its shape and are important in protecting your spinal cord. Between each vertebra are soft, squishy cushions known as intervertebral discs.
The discs have a durable outside area (annulus) and a soft, gelatinous center (nucleus). Besides facilitating spinal joint movement, they act as essential shock absorbers to help reduce stress and pressure on your spine.
Because your discs aren’t hard like bone, they’re susceptible to degeneration and injury. One of the major injuries that happens to intervertebral discs is herniation, or rupture. A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner portion of the disc oozes through its tough outer shell.
Your discs slowly deteriorate as you get older, which is often how herniated discs happen. A single wrong twist or movement of your spine can lead to this type of injury. A sprain or strain may also cause disc herniation.
When you have a herniated disc, it can trigger a range of symptoms. However, there are several factors that determine the kind of symptoms you experience, including where the injury is located (neck, mid-back, or lower back) and its severity.
The symptoms of a herniated disc are often more severe if the protruding material presses on any of the nearby nerve roots in your spine. Symptoms you may experience include:
Most herniated discs occur in the lower back (lumbar spine), causing back and leg pain. They can also happen in your neck (thoracic spine), triggering problems in your shoulder, arms, and hands.
Whether they’re mild, moderate, or severe, the symptoms of a herniated disc can usually be eased with the right self-care approach and medical pain relief. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, or corticosteroid injections also help ease persistent pain and inflammation.
In most cases, a herniated disc resolves on its own with conservative measures. In fact, some people don’t even know they have a herniated disc, especially if it doesn’t press on a nerve.
However, if you do have symptoms related to your disc herniation that aren’t resolved after conservative measures, our team may recommend surgery. This is usually only considered if your symptoms don’t get better after a few months.
There are other instances when surgery may be the best option. For example, if your pain is so severe that it’s interfering with your normal activities, surgical repair may be the right approach. Other reasons you should consider surgery for a herniated disc include:
If our team determines that surgery is the best option for you, there are several procedures available. Common types of surgery that are used for herniated discs include a discectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, or artificial disc replacement.
The type of surgery the team recommends depends on the severity of your injury, how many discs are involved, and your overall health.
If other treatments haven’t helped your herniated disc pain, call one of our offices in Arlington, Fort Worth, Waco, or Wichita Falls, Texas to schedule a visit today. You can also use our easy online booking feature to make an appointment any time.