How to Spot a Herniated Disc

Do you have severe back and leg pain? Or do you have tingling or burning in your back or legs? These are signs that you may have a herniated disc. The physicians at  Orthopaedic Institute For Spinal Disorders specialize in treating musculoskeletal conditions and managing the accompanying pain. If you have a ruptured disc or suspect you do, they can give you a thorough evaluation and explain your treatment options.

Symptoms of a herniated disc

A herniated disc can cause severe pain in your neck, back, legs, and arms. Any of the following conditions could also point to a herniated disc:

  • Pain and numbness, usually on one side
  • Pain that runs into your arms or legs
  • Pain that’s more severe at night or when you move a certain way
  • Pain that’s more severe after standing or sitting
  • Pain when you try to take a walk
  • Weakness in surrounding muscles
  • Tingling or burning feelings in your back or legs
  • Lower back pain

The type of pain you experience may vary, because a herniated disc can occur anywhere from your neck to your lower spine. If it occurs in your lower back, you may feel severe pain in your bottom, thigh, calf, or all three. It also may be very painful to sit down.

If the damaged disc is in your neck, you may experience pain in your shoulder and arm. The pain may become more intense if you cough or sneeze.

How do herniated discs develop?

Your spine has 26 vertebrae, or bones. Between each bone is a pad, called a disc. These discs cushion your vertebrae and allow them to turn, twist, and move in all directions. They’re shock absorbers that prevent your vertebrae from touching.

The discs are hard on the outside with a gel-like substance inside. A herniated disc happens when some of the gel-like material inside the disc slips outside the disc through a crack in the disc wall. The gel material may irritate the nerves surrounding the spine. The ruptured disc can also put pressure on the surrounding nerves and thus cause severe pain.

Treating herniated discs

In many cases, ruptured discs can heal with conservative treatments. The majority of people with herniated discs usually feel better in about six weeks. Conservative treatments include:

  • Medications, including nerve medications
  • Physical therapy, including active and passive treatments, such as gentle targeted exercises, heat or ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation

If the treatments above don’t work sufficiently, your doctor at Orthopaedic Institute For Spinal Disorders can try other treatments, such as:

  • Epidural injections
  • Interventional pain injections
  • Facet joint injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Fascia Iliaca block

Most herniated discs can heal with the treatments described above, but in severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. They’ll explain all your options and give you guidance on which direction to go.

To get relief from your musculoskeletal pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic Institute For Spinal Disorders today.

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