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Recognizing and Treating a Herniated Disc

Herniated DiscEvery year, millions of people battle lower back and neck pain. One of the common reasons for the condition is a herniated or ruptured disc. A spinal disc has a tougher outer casing and a softer, jelly-like center. Disc rupture occurs when the jelly pushes through a crack in the outer layer. Besides wear and tear of the spine, disc rupture can be caused by an injury or a combination of degeneration and injury.

Some people may not have any symptoms, but disc herniation can cause severe, debilitating pain in others. Fortunately, there are several non-surgical treatment options to effectively address the symptoms of a herniated disc.

Herniated Disc – Signs and Symptoms

A herniated disc affects the nerves and causes back, neck, arm, and leg pain. Symptoms will differ depending on the location of the ruptured disc. Even a minor herniation that does not put a lot of pressure on nerve roots can be painful. The most common signs of the condition are:

  • Arm/leg pain: If the disc injury is in the lower back, it will cause extreme pain in the buttocks and leg, including the calf and a part of the foot.
  • Pain in the shoulder and arm: A herniated disk is in the neck usually causes intense pain in the shoulder and arm. Coughing, sneezing and sitting down can cause shooting pain in the arm or leg.
  • Numbness: A herniated disk often causes loss of sensation and tingling in the affected part of the body.
  • Weakness: As nerve pain can weaken the associated muscles, it can affect the ability to lift or hold items and also cause balance problems.

So if you have back or neck pain that radiates into the shoulder, arm or leg and it is accompanied by numbness or weakness, you should seek medical treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Choose a professional pain management center for treatment. Reliable centers that have a multispecialty approach offer a variety of non-surgical options to treat disc pain. Physical exam and history will be used to diagnose the condition and if necessary, MRI of the lumbar spine may be performed to identify the location and extent of the herniation.

An established pain management center would offer a wide variety of non-surgical treatment modalities to treat disc pain, such as:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. NSAIDS)
  • Heat packs/pads
  • Pain medications
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Spinal decompression therapy
  • Electrical therapy

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing the condition from getting worse. In a reliable New York multispecialty center, you are assured of a customized treatment plan focused on providing relief from pain and helping you to get back to normal activity.

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