Herniated discs are one of the most common causes of neck and back pain. As we age, our spinal discs, which are cushioned between vertebrae, develop wear and tear. This causes the material to become less flexible and weaken, allowing cracks to form. Within the discs are a gel-like substance, and it can push through the cracks in the discs. When this happens, the surrounding nerves become irritated and send pain signals to the brain. The individual can also experience weakness in the extremities.
So, how do you solve the problem of herniated discs? Here we will discuss the different ways herniated discs are treated, and where in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Royal Oak you can get treatment for this problem.
Rest and Low-Impact Activities
One of the most important steps in treating a herniated disc is allowing your body time to rest and avoiding activities that increase strain on the spine or aggravate your symptoms. Some of the things you should avoid doing are bending, lifting heavy objects, or sitting for long periods of time. Rest – not inactivity – is advised, so aim for low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling to maintain good overall health.
Applying heat packs over the affected areas along your neck and back can help with relaxing the muscles and reduce tension, which can ease symptoms. The heat also improves circulation to the area and improves elasticity, which may help with improving symptoms. Alternately applying ice to the painful areas can help decrease pain and inflammation, too.
Physical therapy can be beneficial to individuals with herniated discs. It typically involves stretching exercises to increase flexibility and strengthening exercises to strengthen the muscles in the upper body. Physical therapists can also apply massage therapy and use ultrasound and electrical stimulation to help with reducing pain, restoring normal range of motion, and improving function.
A steroid injection is administered directly into the affected area of the spine using an X-ray or ultrasound guidance system. The steroids used in these injections mimic the body’s hormone cortisol, which helps with reducing inflammation and relieves pressure on the nerves caused by a herniated disc. Corticosteroid injections for a herniated disc provide immediate relief from symptoms.
Surgery is usually recommended if the previously mentioned treatment methods fail to relieve pain. Surgery to treat a herniated disc in the cervical or neck region is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), which involves the removal of the herniated disc and fusion of the vertebrae into a single bone to achieve stability. Surgery to treat a herniated disc in the back are microdiscectomy or laminectomy, which are decompression surgeries that involve either the removal of the herniated portion of the disc or the removal of the entire vertebral bone.
Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the treatment that will give you the best chance at returning to an active, pain-free life.
Herniated Disc Treatment in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
Dr. Bradley AhlgrenofAhlgren Spine is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon whose expertise is providing patients with relief from the symptoms of a herniated disc. Dr. Ahlgren usually begins with non-surgical methods, a combination of which are usually effective at relieving neck and back pain. If surgery is needed, Dr. Ahlgren is highly experienced in the use of cutting-edge, minimally invasive techniques that improve patient comfort, experience, recovery, and outcomes.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, call our office today at (248) 215-8080 or use our convenient online request form.