You have a herniated disc in your lower back and it’s causing shooting pain down into your leg. Or a bulging disc in your neck is making turning your head nearly impossible. Wherever your disc has herniated, it can cause some very unpleasant symptoms that are casting a long shadow over your life.
As spine health experts, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management has extensive experience helping our patients weather painful herniated discs, and we can do the same for you.
When you have a herniated disc, you’re not without treatment options, and we review three of them here.
Behind the herniated disc
Before we get into the treatment options that we offer for a herniated disc, we want to quickly review the problem, which will help you better understand how the treatments work.
Your spine features 23 intervertebral discs that act as spacers between your vertebrae. Each disc features a tough outer layer that encompasses a soft, jellylike interior that provides cushioning along your spine. When a disc herniates, it means there’s a bulge or tear in the outer layer, allowing some of the interior to leak out and irritate sensitive nerve roots.
Herniated discs, which affect up to 2% of the population in the United States, occur in areas where your spine is most active, which means your lower back and your neck. When a disc herniates in your lower back, it can compress your sciatic nerve and lead to back pain as well as symptoms that travel down into one leg.
If it occurs in your cervical spine, it can lead to neck pain, as well as symptoms in one arm and hand.
Finding relief from a herniated disc
While the pain that stems from a herniated disc can be moderate to severe, the good news is that you’re not without options. At our practice, we’ve helped patients with the following treatments:
1. Epidural injections
There’s a space that surrounds your spinal nerves called the epidural space. With an epidural injection, we deliver an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory agent into this space to quiet the spinal nerves in the area. This is a good option if we haven’t identified the exact nerve that’s being compressed by your herniated disc, but we do know its general location.
2. Nerve blocks
If we can identify the nerve that your disc is pinching, such as your sciatic nerve, we can administer a nerve block. This injection contains the same ingredients as an epidural injection, but we deliver it directly into the nerve that’s sending the pain signals to your brain.
3. Physical therapy (PT)
This option helps relieve the pressure on your pinched nerve through targeted stretches. In addition to helping with the immediate discomfort, PT can also go a long way toward preventing herniated discs in the future by strengthening the muscles surrounding your spine.
Many of our patients first see us for an interventional treatment, such as the aforementioned nerve block or epidural injection, before they embark on their physical therapy program.
Between our pain management techniques and your work ithrough PT, you can get to the other side of your herniated disc as comfortably and quickly as possible.
For expert treatment of your herniated disc, please contact us at one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York.