Herniated Disc

Think you may be experiencing what’s known as a herniated disc in Dallas, Texas? Herniated discs can be a major cause of sharp or acute pain, often brought about by aging, improper lifting or twisting, or repetitive motion. They can also vary in symptom depending on the severing of the ’tear’ (more on that below) as well as where they’re located. Follow along as we explain what a herniated disc is, how to tell if you have one, and what you can do to treat a herniated disc in Dallas.

What Is A Herniated Disc?

Everyone has a series of bones in their spine, stretching from the base of their skull to their tailbone. Between each vertebrae are round cushions called disks, which act as buffers between your bones, allowing you to move with ease. Sometimes referred to as a “slipped” or “ruptured” disc, a herniated disc occurs when the inner core of one of these discs pushes out through a tear in the annulus. And while most of them heal over time, they can be a serious cause of neck, arm, back, or leg pain, depending on where they’re located.

What Causes A Herniated Disc?

The sensation of a herniated disc will often depend on where along your spine it’s located. If it’s in your back, you may experience pain that shoots down one side of your buttocks into your leg or foot. You might also experience general back pain, muscle weakness, or a tingling or numbness in your legs and/or feet.

If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you may experience shoulder pain, arm pain, or even hand and finger pain. Neck pain, obviously, is especially common—you’ll usually feel it in the back or along the sides of your neck—as well as more pain when you bend or turn it.

What Does A Herniated Disc Feel Like?

Disks have soft, gel-like centers and a firm outer layer. Over time as you age, the firm outer layer of each of your intervertebral discs that make up your spine can weaken and begin to crack. When this happens, the jelly-like inner core (known as the annulus fibrosus) can push through the tear, causing a ‘herniated disc.’ Pain occurs if and when the leaked material presses on your nearby spinal nerves.

How Is A Herniated Disc Diagnosed?

A patient with a herniated disc will usually complain of low back pain that may or may not radiate into different parts of the body, such as the leg. They will often demonstrate a limitation in range of motion when asked to bend forward or lean backwards, and they may lean to one side as they try to bend forward. Patients will sometimes walk with a painful gait, flexing the affected leg so as not to put too much weight on the side of the body that hurts. Straight leg raising may be a positive indication of tension on the nerve root.

Straight Leg Raising Test

Abnormalities in the strength and sensation of particular parts of the body that are found with a neurological examination performed by a doctor provide the most objective evidence of nerve root compression. An MRI is the test of choice for diagnosis of a herniated disc, but a CT scan (CAT scan) also may be helpful because it provides better visualization of the bony anatomy of the spinal column that indicates where the source of pressure on the nerve root is located.

Can I Relieve My Herniated Disc At Home?

Yes. In most cases, the pain should subside over time. Typically, if you rest for 1-3 days and take over the counter pain medicine, the pain should go away. You can also try applying heat or ice to the affected area, as well.

That said, if the pain is severe or worsens, you should strongly consider seeing a specialist.

When Should I See A Specialist?

While pain from a herniated disc will oven go way in time—often over a period of one to three days, you should see a herniated disc specialist in Dallas if your symptoms get worse, if notice any tingling or numbness, or loss of strength in your arms, hands, legs, or feet, or if you have trouble standing or walking. You should also see a specialist if the pain is strong enough that it interferes with your daily life.

How Is A Herniated Disc Treated?

Treatment for the vast majority of patients with a herniated disc does not normally include surgery.

The primary element of conservative treatment is controlled physical activity. Usually treatment will begin with a modification of activity and then a gradual return to protected activities. Sitting, bending, lifting and twisting are not beneficial for this condition because they put a large amount of stress and pressure on the lumbar spine, which may increase the pressure on the affected nerve root.

The appropriate use of medication is an important part of conservative treatment, as well. This can include anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and muscle relaxants. Your doctor also may recommend an anti-inflammatory spinal injection for the area of the affected nerve root to lessen swelling and irritation caused by the damaged disc.

Can A Herniated Disc Heal Without Surgery?

Yes. Generally speaking, most people who experience pain from herniated disc will experience relief without any invasive procedures. Depending on your condition, alternatives to alternatives to surgery for a herniated disc in Dallas may include anti-inflammatory pain reliever or muscle relaxants, physical therapy, or spinal injections.

Surgery is usually only considered an option when treatments fail, or in rare emergency situations.

The benefits of spine surgery, however, must be weighed against the risks. Our herniated disc surgeons in Dallas will be able to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you, and the likely results of operative versus non-operative treatment.

Are There Herniated Disc Specialists in Dallas?

Yes. In fact, we can work with several at the Comprehensive Spine Center of Dallas.

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms and are considering you have a herniated disc, contact us to schedule an appointment today. We can perform a thorough diagnosis of your condition and provide the best herniated disc treatments available in Dallas.

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