Disc herniation is one of the most prevalent triggers of neck and back pain. The pain can interfere with your ability to perform your daily activities, lowering your quality of life. If not untreated Pittsburgh disc herniation can result in irreversible nerve damage or partial paralysis. Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center offer several treatment options that can relieve your symptoms, enabling you to embark on your daily life.
Signature symptoms of disc herniation
Disc herniation is a condition where the soft center of your spinal disc bulges out through a tear in the disc’s outer layer. It can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing a range of symptoms such as lower back pain, leg pain (sciatica), weakness or numbness in the legs, tingling or burning sensations, and difficulty walking or standing. The symptoms of a herniated disc rely on the location of the herniation and the severity of your injury.
Suppose the herniation puts pressure on a nerve. In that case, it can cause a range of physical and neurological symptoms, such as muscle weakness, difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function, or a loss of sensation in the affected part. Herniated discs can also cause pain that radiates down the leg, which can be severe and persistent. In extreme cases, a herniated disc may require surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerve and alleviate your symptoms.
Diagnostic techniques for a herniated disc
Diagnosis of a herniated disc typically starts with a thorough medical history and physical examination. During the physical examination, your doctor may check for signs of nerve compression, such as muscle weakness or loss of sensation, and perform various physical tests to evaluate your range of motion and reflexes. Your provider may also order imaging tests to get a clear view of your spinal anatomy and determine if you have a herniated disc. These imaging tests can show the size, location, and extent of the herniation and help the team decide whether it is pressing on the surrounding nerves. In some cases, they may also order an electromyogram (EMG) test to assess the electrical activity of your muscles and nerves and help diagnose nerve damage. Based on the results of these tests, your doctor can determine the best course of treatment for your herniated disc.
Treatment options for a herniated disc
Treatment for a herniated disc relies on the severity of your symptoms and overall health. Non-surgical treatments such as rest, pain medication, physical therapy, and hot/cold therapy can effectively relieve the symptoms of a herniated disc. In some cases, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, or muscle relaxants, may also reduce pain and muscle spasms. If non-surgical treatments are ineffective, your provider may recommend epidural steroid injections to help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. In severe cases, your provider may recommend surgery to remove the part of the disc that may be putting pressure on the nerve or to repair the disc. The type of surgery you need will rely on your specific case and overall health.
For more information about disc herniation, call the Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center office or schedule an appointment online.