A herniated disc may be described as such, or by other terms, such as “bulging disc” or “pinched nerve.” Whatever term is used to depict an irritated, inflamed, or damaged disc, what you know is that you’re in pain, and you want it to stop.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
When a disc becomes inflamed and herniated, some symptoms may develop based on the location and severity of nerve impingement. In the lumbar spine, herniation may cause sciatica – pain, aching, or weakness in the leg and foot. If the herniated disc is located in the upper part of the spine, headaches, shoulder pain, and weakness in the upper body may occur. This is a short list of symptoms related to disc herniation.
Where is Pain Coming From?
One of the objectives of a thorough spinal exam is to determine the type and source of pain. Even when we suspect a herniated disc, it is possible that pain is directly related to the irritation of surrounding nerves. This could stem from the leakage of matter from the disc toward a nearby nerve. The stimulation of that nerve incites pain in another area along the nerve path. This is referred to as radicular pain. When the disc itself is the origin of pain, it is referred to as axial pain. In any case, what we aim to do when faced with disc herniation is improve comfort as quickly as possible.
The Good News
A herniated disc can be incredibly painful. The good news, though, is that the majority of cases of disc herniation may be successfully treated without surgery. To operate on a herniated disc usually means that conservative methods of care have failed to mitigate painful symptoms. It is understandable to want to avoid back surgery. However, remember that the ultimate objective is to restore proper structural support, so nerve impingement is put to rest. If treatment is not obtained in time, permanent nerve damage may occur.
Our focus is on the provision of outstanding surgical care for our NYC patients. If the most appropriate approach to your back pain is in question, contact us for a thorough consultation and examination. Together, we can help you determine if surgery may be indicated.