While we often associate herniated discs with pain and immobility, the condition is quite common, and many people with a herniated disc exhibit no symptoms. When a herniated disc is particularly severe, however, you might need medical attention to relieve pain and restore function. Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California has decades of experience treating spinal issues and can provide the spinal care you need to get you back on your feet. To learn more, call Dr. Dennis to schedule your consultation or book online.
A herniated disc is an injury to one of the numerous spinal “cushions” that lay between your vertebrae. Damage to one of these discs can cause its inner, soft material to leak out, which can compress a nerve. The disc material is like “crabmeat” and causes both inflammation and pressure.
These protrusions can press against or irritate nearby nerves in your back, potentially causing a variety of issues.
Many cases of herniated discs can emerge from age-related wear and tear. This damage is called disc degeneration and causes your discs to lose water content, making them more susceptible to injury or to cause pain.
In rare cases, traumatic injury, such as lifting a heavy object, can also cause a herniated disc. You might also put your back under more stress if you work a job that requires regular heavy lifting, or if you’re overweight or obese.
While mild cases of herniated discs often present little to no symptoms, more severe cases might cause:
Herniated discs that are lower on your spine often cause pain in your thighs, calves, buttocks, and legs. If your herniated disc is higher on your spine, such as near your neck, you might feel pain in your shoulder or arm.
Some people report numbness or tingling in the body parts that use the nerves affected by a herniated disc.
The pressure placed on nerves in the back can also affect your ability to use the muscles that need these nerves to function, leading to weakness in that area.
Without treatment, the symptoms of a herniated disc can worsen and even lead to bladder and bowel dysfunction.
For many cases of herniated discs, Dr. Dennis recommends a conservative treatment approach to start. This can involve medications to reduce pain or relax muscles and allow you to engage in a physical exercise routine.
Dr. Dennis might also recommend physical therapy for moderate pain. Physical therapy can help you improve muscle strength and reduce overall symptoms of your disc.
If your herniated disc is particularly severe, you might require surgery for treatment. During a surgical procedure for a herniated disc, the fragment is removed and the nerve is freed from pressure.. If the entire disc is removed, you might also need a vertebrae fusion to provide stability in the region.
If you have long struggled with a herniated disc or other back issues, don’t let your pain keep you from the activities you love. Call the office of Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California, to schedule your consultation or book online.