Disc herniation often occurs as the discs degenerate over the years, but the problem often occurs earlier than you may expect. Painful herniated discs most often appear between the ages of 30 and 50. The team at Sequoia Institute for Surgical Services has helped many patients recover from painful disc herniations and regain a better quality of life with customized, nonsurgical care. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Visalia, Porterville, or Reedley, California, or book online today.
The discs tucked between the vertebrae of your spine are made of a strong outer covering that encloses a gel-like substance in the center. Over the years, the outer surface dries out, shrinks, and develops weak spots.
Pressure from the vertebrae forces the inner core to push out through the weak area when you move. The inner substance leaks out if the cover tears, causing a herniated disc.
Though you can have disc herniation in your neck (cervical spine), this problem most often occurs in your lower back (lumbar spine).
Herniated discs cause localized back pain in the area of the damaged disc. Leaking gel causes nerve irritation and inflammation. The spinal nerves also get pinched when a bulging or ruptured disc pushes against the nerve.
Pinched nerves cause pain and tingling that travel along the nerve and go down one or both legs. Nerve damage may also lead to numbness and muscle weakness in your leg. In severe cases, muscle weakness makes it hard to walk.
Your disc herniation treatment begins with nonsurgical therapies that give the damaged disc time to heal. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
Short-term rest often eases the pain but should be limited to 1-2 days before returning to your daily activities. When you return to work, move slowly and carefully when bending forward and lifting, try not to sit for long periods, and avoid movements and activities that cause back pain.
Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen helps relieve the pain.
It's important to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles because they support your lower back. Your physical therapist creates a personalized exercise plan that improves your back without causing added stress.
Steroids reduce nerve inflammation, providing long-lasting pain relief that helps you stay active.
If your symptoms don't improve with nonsurgical treatments or you develop muscle weakness, difficulty walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control, you may need spine surgery. Herniated disc surgery involves removing the damaged part of the disc or the entire disc.
If you have back pain or pain and tingling shooting down your leg, call Sequoia Institute for Surgical Services or book an appointment online today.