Your discs are little jelly donut-looking rings that sit between the vertebrae in your back. A damaged disc leads to a number of excruciating situations. A herniated disc occurs when the fluid inside the donut starts leaking fluid after an accident, injury or years of continuous wear and tear. Whether you know when it happened or not, see a pain management specialist at Redefine Healthcare at the first sign of back pain. Prevent further complications of a herniated disc with the right diagnosis and treatment. Call for an appointment.
When you lead an active lifestyle, your back often deals with a lot of stress. Whether you’re skating, playing tennis or just shopping, you put your back through an enormous amount of twisting, turning, bending and lifting. No matter how fit you are, strenuous activity or repetitive movements can lead to herniated discs, which are among the most common causes of back, neck and leg pain.
Discs are the cushions between each of your vertebrae: the individual bones that make up your spine.
When the softer jelly inside the disc pushes out through a tear in the tough outer shell, it triggers intense pain, weakness or numbness. For some people, this pain is debilitating. When you’re experiencing pain or stiffness in your back or neck that doesn’t go away, it’s time to consult the pain management specialists at Redefine Healthcare to receive the best treatment for herniated discs or whatever’s ailing you.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
The most commonly affected area for herniated discs is the lower back. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical complaints in the country. Some of the symptoms you may experience if your ruptured disc is in your lower back include:
- Pain, which may be concentrated in your lower back, or it may radiate to your buttocks, legs and feet
- General muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
- A herniated disc in the neck can produce similar symptoms, such as:
- Pain in the back or on the sides of your neck
- Pain near your shoulder blade or radiating to the shoulder or arm
- Neck muscle spasms
You may find that your pain intensifies or spreads if you move in certain ways. Remaining in one position for too long can also trigger pain. It’s possible to have a herniated disc, but not have symptoms, in which case, your condition isn’t discovered until you have a regularly scheduled annual exam.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
When a disc becomes herniated or ruptured, it puts pressure on nearby nerves and often results in a pinched nerve. You may not be able to identify a particular action that triggered your back or neck pain, but you may remember when the pain started. Perhaps you used your back muscles to lift something heavy or turned awkwardly in an athletic activity.
If you’re an athletic person, you’re at risk of a back injury, a pulled muscle or a herniated disc when you go running, jumping, dancing or playing contact sports. You can hurt your back if your job is physically demanding and you do a lot of lifting, bending, pushing or pulling at work. Excess body weight can strain your lower back. As you get older, the aging process can contribute to degenerative joint disease.
How to Fix a Herniated Disc
Diagnosing a herniated disc involves a thorough physical and neurological exam to check muscle strength, reflexes and the ability to feel a light touch. To rule out other possible causes of lower back pain, you may need tests such as an x-ray, MRI or CT scan.
Initial herniated disc treatment is non-surgical and conservative. If your condition doesn’t respond to these treatments, you may need minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery. Recommendations for treatment by your New Jersey doctor may include, from least invasive to most:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen and naproxen are examples of these over-the-counter medicines that can relieve inflammation and pain, as well as improve your mobility.
- Physical therapy. With the help of a physical therapist, you can learn exercises that reduce your pain while strengthening supporting muscles so you don’t have to rely on your back as much.
- Prescription medications. If your pain isn’t relieved with over-the-counter medication, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or narcotic painkillers on a short-term basis.
- Cortisone injections. An injection of corticosteroid reduces inflammation and fights pain.
- Surgery. You may need surgery to repair structural issues if symptoms don’t improve with less invasive forms of treatment.
For expert herniated disc treatment in northern New Jersey, contact the experts at Redefine Healthcare. Schedule an appointment to get a clear diagnosis so you can begin appropriate treatment and get back to your daily routines. The top-rated pain management physicians specialize in back pain diagnosis and treatment.
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