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Herniated Disc

A common cause of back pain is a ruptured or herniated disc in the spine. A lumbar disc herniation is a ruptured disc that occurs in the low back (lumbar spine). Depending on the severity of the disc herniation, patients may experience a range of symptoms such as minor aches and pains, a complete loss of leg function, or the ability to control bowel movements. Herniated discs may not heal on their own, so it’s recommended to seek medical care if symptoms worsen over time. Only 10 percent of herniated lumbar discs require surgery. Overall, the prognosis for a herniated disc is quite good.

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Symptoms vary depending on the cause and location of the condition. If the disc herniation is relatively new, patients may not experience any symptoms for weeks or months. Over time, symptoms will likely develop in the back, upper extremities, and lower extremities. The most common symptom includes pain. Pain may be characterized as a dull ache or sharp, electric shock-like pain. Other symptoms may include muscle weakness, arm or leg numbness, tingling in the upper and lower extremities, muscle spasms, or overactive reflexes.

Anyone can herniate a disc; however, there are certain factors that increase your chances of developing this condition: Injury: Herniated disc causes often involve some sort of trauma to your back. This can be something as serious as a fall to something as simple as changing positions too abruptly. Gender: While herniation can affect everyone, males are generally more susceptible. Age: They are more likely to occur in people with older, typically more damaged spines. As you get older, your bones become more susceptible to injury in addition to a lifetime of wear and tear. Lifestyle: Patients who don’t exercise regularly are at a higher risk. Also being overweight is another risk factor. Extra weight causes the spine to work harder to move your body.

After receiving an official diagnosis, talk with your doctor before starting any new treatments. They’ll discuss treatments that will be best for your condition and symptoms as well as anyone complementary therapies. Lifestyle changes may relieve some symptoms and protect your back from similar injuries in the future. These will include resting, exercising or eating healthier. Many people use medicine to relieve pain. You may already be taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen. Physical therapy is another common herniated disc treatment. Physical therapists specialize in helping people regain their previous range of motion and strengthening the muscles around the injured area.

Lastly, there are interventional treatments such as injections or surgery. Injections, including cortisone injections, can help when your chronic pain becomes too severe to be managed by more conservative treatments. These injections have the potential to offer effective, long-term pain relief, but they can also cause serious side effects if used too frequently. Your doctor will help you decide if the risks are worth the benefits in your case. There are also multiple kinds of herniated disc surgery, including partial or total removal of the affected disc or the insertion of an artificial disc to replace the damaged one.

Are you ready to stop living life in pain?