Treatment Options For Herniated Discs
If you are experiencing pain in your back and lower extremity caused by a herniated disc in your back, relief can be found. The term “herniated disc” is a medical phrase that is often used interchangeably with other terms, such as ruptured disc, bulging disc, pinched nerve, slipped disc sciatica,or disc disease. No matter the term, a damaged disc can cause back and extremity pain that can make everyday tasks daunting. Treatment for a herniated disc can range from simple lifestyle changes to more invasive measures, such as microdiscectomy.
Diagnosing A Herniated Disc
The first step in determining a treatment for your herniated disc is to find the cause of the pain. An effective treatment plan requires an accurate diagnosis. That is why spine expert Dr. Keenen of Pacific Spine Specialists you will complete a thorough physical exam as well as a series of diagnostic tests when warranted. The tests will aid Dr. Keenen in making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. Recommended tests may include:
- A detailed interview with a pain drawing
- Complete review of medical history including previous treatments
- A detailed physical exam assessing sensation, reflexes, muscle strength, and range of motion
- Diagnostic tests such as an MRI, CT scan or x-ray
- Review of previous injections, if any
Nonsurgical Treatments For a Herniated Disc
The best course of treatment is determined by first considering your clinical situation. Once your spine expert determines the cause of your pain, a nonsurgical treatment may be recommended. Nonsurgical treatment options may include one or a combination of the following:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic Treatment
- Pain medicationss/li>
- Injections: cortisone / PRP / stem cell
Surgery for a Herniated Disc
Before surgery is recommended, your spine expert will first take into account the amount of pain you’re experiencing, how much disability is occurring as a result of that pain, and how long you’ve had the symptoms. A non surgical plan is sought, but less commonly the pain is severe or the disc herniation is causing weakness, then urgent surgery could be advised.
Where the rupture is located and the size of your spinal canal are other important factors considered with determining if surgery is needed. A very small spinal canal can lead to a pinched nerve even when the bulge is minor, whereas a sizable rupture can cause very little pain in a large spinal canal.
The goal of spine surgery is to remove the part of the disc that’s pressing on your nerves. Often times this can be achieved through a minimally invasive surgical procedure called a discectomy. In the past 10 years, minimally invasive spinal surgery has improved so much that your spine surgeon can perform the surgery with a relatively small incision and much less soft tissue damage than previous surgical techniques. Due to these advances in minimally invasive surgery, at times surgery is a more viable and economical treatment option versus years of paying for non-invasive treatments, such as physical therapy.
Herniated Disc Recovery
If minimally invasive surgery is performed to repair a herniated disc, chances are you’ll be able to go home the same day of the spine surgery. With sufficient rest, and a recovery plan that includes daily walking, you can be back to a much less painful life in as little as a few weeks time.
Visit Pacific Spine Specialists for Herniated Disc Relief
If you are suffering from a herniated disc, take advantage of Pacific Spine Specialists complimentary MRI review. Our highly skilled spine expert, Dr. Keenen, will work with you to eliminate your pain using the most minimally invasive procedures. Schedule an appointment today.