The spine is made up of small individual bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra sits a small, flat, round disc made up of a soft jelly-like material surrounded by a tough outer layer. These spinal discs provide a cushion for the vertebrae, acting as shock absorbers for the spine.
If a disc slips out of place — a condition known as a herniated disc — it can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness or weakness in the back as well as an arm or leg. Symptoms of a herniated disc may vary depending on its exact location. This common condition can be genetic. It may also be caused by excessive strain or injury. A herniated disc can even be the result of the natural degeneration we all experience as we age.
If you are suffering from pain in your neck, between your shoulder blades or radiating down your arms, you may have a herniated disc in your neck. Sciatic nerve pain, burning, tingling and numbness radiating from the buttock to the leg and into the foot, or pain that is more severe with standing, walking or sitting may be the result of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Any pain caused by a herniated disc can affect your ability to move and complete daily tasks.
Discomfort & Pain from Herniated Disc
While some minor discomfort or pain from a herniated disc may be managed with either over-the-counter pain relievers (such as an anti-inflammatory) or prescription medications (such as muscle relaxers), diagnosis and treatment from an orthopedic surgeon can restore your quality of life and help you get back to normal activities. In severe cases, people with a herniated disc may require surgery if more conservative treatments fail to improve their symptoms.
If allowed to go untreated, a herniated disc can worsen over time, leading to chronic pain and discomfort. The decision to treat a herniated disc is a personal one, but consulting with an experienced doctor providing herniated disc treatment in Houston can help you determine the treatment option that’s best for you.
Leading orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vivek Kushwaha offers patients with severe pain, numbness and weakness two primary options for herniated disc treatment in Houston. The first, lumbar discectomy, is a surgical procedure in which the herniated portion of the disc is removed. During the second procedure, spinal fusion, the disc is removed entirely, and a device may be placed between the vertebrae to maintain alignment and disc height. The surrounding vertebrae are then fixed in place with screws and/or wire.
If you are experiencing pain, numbness or weakness that may be caused by a herniated disc, schedule a consultation to get a diagnosis and discuss your treatment options with Houston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kushwaha.