Disc herniation is commonly called a herniated disc. Patients diagnosed with this condition tend to experience recurring leg, back, and neck pain.
While a herniated disc usually resolves independently, it’s still important to know its repercussions and causes. Proper knowledge of this illness will help speed up recovery.
Let’s learn more about lumbar disc herniation and where you can go for effective treatment of this condition in Rochester Hills, MI.
What Is aHerniated Disc?
An injured backbone or spine is the primary cause of a herniated disc. The set of bones in the spinal column is called the vertebrae. They begin from your tailbone and extend up to the base of the skull.
In between each of the bones are round, spongy cushions called discs. They act as supportive buffers to protect the bones. Lumbar disc herniation occurs when the cartilages in your lower back sustain damage.
The pain usually starts when the discs lose fluid and become too compressed within the vertebrae. This condition is called a bulging disc.
When the pain is left untreated, it progresses into a herniated disc. It is when the cartilages eventually rupture and break down due to continuous pressure, resulting in even more pain.
Symptoms Of Lumbar Disc Herniation
People with a herniated disc can experience discomfort in various body parts. Most patients complain of aching along their spinal area, especially in the lower back.
Sometimes, the pain extends to the legs. Sneezing, coughing, or moving may also cause a sharp, shooting, or burning ache.
The pain worsens when the discs press onto a nerve, causing numbness and tingling in certain body parts.
Muscle weakness is also a common symptom because too much pressure on the nerves will weaken them. Those who experience this tend to lose the ability to lift objects and walk properly.
Causes of Lumbar Disc Herniation
As mentioned, a herniated disc occurs when the discs in between the spinal column get damaged. The causes of deterioration are:
The gel-like material that makes up the disc naturally thins out as we age.
Being overweight causes pressure on the spine. When the discs undergo too much continuous pressure, they sustain damage and eventually rupture.
Repetitive motion, especially involving the spine, can cause the discs to weaken in time. That is because continuous motion also exerts pressure on the discs and the vertebrae.
Injury Or Straining
A sudden impact on the spine will cause severe injury. The discs may be affected when there is unexpected twisting in the vertebrae.
Diagnosing A Herniated Disc
Upon visiting your physician, they will ask you to accomplish a physical exam to determine the causes of your symptoms. They may recommend that you undergo other tests such as:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Electromyography (EMG)
The results of these scans will show any abnormalities, particularly in the vertebrae discs, which will reveal lumbar disc herniation.
Treatment For Lumbar Disc Herniation
Here are different treatment options for this condition:
For most patients, a herniated disc heals on its own eventually. Some at-home remedies that you can do to speed up recovery are:
- Taking an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Getting rest for up to three days
- Applying a hot and cold compress alternately to the affected area
You may consider medical treatment if at-home intervention options do not alleviate the pain. Your doctor may recommend the following:
- Potent medication such as a muscle relaxant or a higher dosage of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
- Spinal injections, like a nerve block or an epidural, reduce nerve swelling and speed up the healing
- Physical therapy sessions to loosen tight muscles and relieve pressure on the nerves
- Back surgery to decompress the discs in the spine and remove pressing from the nerves
Preventing Lumbar Disc Herniation
The best way to prevent a herniated disc is to keep a healthy lifestyle and be more mindful of movement. You can reduce the risk factors by:
- Having a balanced diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Stretching before strenuous workouts
- Getting regular exercise
- Practicing proper posture when sitting, sleeping, standing, and working out
- Quitting smoking
- Wearing supportive footwear
Trusted Lumbar Disc Herniation Doctor in Rochester Hills, MI
Despite the effectiveness of at-home rest and remedies, it’s still best to consult a doctor for lumbar disc herniation. The Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery team is fully-equipped and certified to treat herniated disc patients. Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren is a highly-skilled spinal surgeon dedicated to helping patients by performing noninvasive and advanced medical procedures.
To know about our services, call us today at(248) 215-8080. You may also schedule an appointment by submitting an online request form on our website. We have offices in Bad Axe and Royal Oak. For complete location details, you can view our official website.