Numbness and tingling throughout your legs or arms. Weakening muscles that make it hard to lift things, or even walk. Chronic pain in your leg, buttocks or neck.
Sounds pretty awful right?
This is what people suffering from a herniated disc often endure, day in and day out. Some people may not even know they have the condition. But for many, it can be debilitating. So what is a herniated disc and what are some treatment options? Read on to find out.
What is a herniated disc and how do I know if I have one?
A herniated disc occurs when the fluid between two discs becomes displaced. This irritates the nerves surrounding the spinal column. The most common symptom of this condition is extreme back pain and discomfort.
If pain becomes intolerable or debilitating, a professional medical opinion should be sought. Other severe symptoms include numbness and tingling in your extremities or weakness.
Herniated discs are most often caused by disc degeneration. This is basic wear and tear on your body. As a person ages, discs in their back lose some of the fluid that helps keep them flexible. Tiny cracks or breaks in the disc allow the internal gel to bulge outside of the disc, causing a herniation.
This can also happen due to a sudden heavy strain placed on the lower back, or prolonged stress on this area of your body.
There are some common, non-surgical options that can help. These treatments may solve the issue in as few as 4-6 weeks. Treatments include heat and ice application, therapeutic massage or chiropractic care. Patients may also consider medication treatment. However, taking pain medication is not for everyone and comes with the risk of dependency over time.
Steroid injections can also be used to treat back pain. This method involves an injection directly into a patient’s spine. Steroids help reduce swelling, in turn, reducing pain. But keep in mind, steroids often mask the pain, they don’t cure it and leave you at risk of further injury.
Surgery Options and Risk
Surgery means an minvasive procedure where doctors remove the herniated part of the disc under the nerve root. This provides the nerve root more space, relieving pressure and allowing the root to heal.
Like all surgeries, there are risks involved. Potential risks include bleeding, infection and bowel incontinence. There is also the chance that surgery will not fix the issue, but instead, make it worse.
A 2010 study showed that as many as 74% of all back surgeries were unsuccessful. Post-surgery patients also reported an increase in pain and use of pain medication. Some required another surgery in as little as 2-3 years.
DRS Protocol, or Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization, is another non-surgical treatment option that has been very effective in the treatment of herniated discs. The DRS Protocol includes several treatment modalities including spinal decompression, chiropractic care, nutrition, and other treatments customized for each patient’s unique condition.
With DRS, each patient is assessed and treated based on individual needs. And is a great alternative to harmful medications, surgery, or other invasive procedures.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (352) 430-2121.