A painful and debilitating condition, herniated disc develops when one of the discs that cushion the vertebrae becomes injured or moves out of position and presses on adjacent nerves. Also called a ruptured disc or slipped disc, the condition can occur in any part of the spine, but is typically seen in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) region. Pain and other symptoms depend on which part of the spine is affected. Leading, pain management and rehabilitation centers in New York offers treatment for disc herniation using nonsurgical modalities.
Disc herniation usually affects people aged 35 to 55 years and is more commonly seen in men than in women. It is usually difficult to identify the exact cause of a slipped disc. The condition is often the result of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear (disc degeneration). Aging can cause the spinal discs to break down or degenerate and lose water content that makes them less flexible. Injury from a car accident, repetitive movements, smoking, improper lifting and being overweight are other risk factors for a disc problem.
Reports from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, (U.S. National Library of Medicine) suggest that the prevalence of herniated disc is about 5 to 20 cases per 1000 adults annually. The symptoms of the condition depend on which part of the spine is affected and include –
- Low back pain and, neck pain (that gets worse when you sit, cough or sneeze)
- Numbness, weakness, tingling and pain in the arms and legs
- Unexplained muscle weakness
- Pain with movements such as bending or twisting
- Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
Non-Surgical Treatment Modalities for Slipped Disc
Diagnosis of a disc problem will begin with a physical exam wherein the physician will check the area for tenderness. A neurological exam will be performed to check for muscle strength, reflexes, walking ability and the ability to feel light touches, pinpricks or vibration. Imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI scan (Magnetic resonance imaging); CT scan (Computerized tomography) and Myelogram may also be done to identify the location and extent of the herniation. Herniated disc treatment in Brooklyn involves the use of a wide range of non-surgical pain management modalities –
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy focuses on therapeutic exercises to eliminate muscle spasm and inflammation. It includes gentle stretching, strengthening, and aerobic exercises to improve muscle flexibility and heal the tendons.
- Chiropractic care – Chiropractic treatment involves on hands-on manipulation (adjustment) to ease back pain. These gentle adjustments can address the misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine and strengthen the muscles around the joints.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – TENS uses low voltage electrical current to reduce muscle stiffness and pain.
- Epidural nerve block injections – Corticosteroid medications are injected directly into the epidural space of the spinal column to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Game Ready cold compression therapy – This computer-controlled modality combines cold therapy and intermittent active compression for all types of musculoskeletal injuries and pain.
- Medications – Pain medications include – analgesics, narcotic medications (like Codeine, an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination), NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen) and muscle relaxants.
Patients are also advised to take rest and avoid exercise and other activities which involve bending or lifting. In most cases, it may take 4-6 weeks to recover from a disc problem.
In established multi-specialty health care centers in Brooklyn, experienced pain management doctors use an advanced approach to diagnose and treat herniated discs. After diagnosing the root cause of problem, they will provide customized treatment to ease the symptoms and help patients regain mobility and functional ability.