Your spinal column comprises bony vertebrae, facet joints, and cushion-like discs, which create free movement, and stabilize and absorb the many shocks and pressures your back endures daily. These discs may herniate, impinging on the spinal nerves.
Let’s talk about the reasons for herniated discs, what your orthopedic specialist may recommend to heal them, and where you can go for the treatment of herniated discs in Dover, NJ.
The Reasons for and Symptoms of Disc Herniation
Due to traumatic injury or disease, intervertebral discs may herniate or lose some of their jelly-like contents. Sometimes the aging process contributes to disc herniation as the interior of the disc becomes less elastic, resulting in a collapse of the stiff exterior disc structure. Perhaps your doctor has diagnosed one or more herniated discs in your cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine upon reviewing your symptoms and viewing the results of a CT scan or MRI.
Also called slipped or ruptured discs, herniated discs cause irritation of the spinal nerves. You may be experiencing symptoms such as:
- Numbness, tingling, or pain down one or both legs or arms (depending on the location of the disc)
- Sciatica nerve pain radiating from the lower back to the buttocks and leg on the affected side
- Foot pain and foot drop
- Bladder and/or bowel incontinence
- Muscle spasms in the affected area of the back
- Reduced reflexes in the knee and ankle
Treatment Options for Herniated Discs
Your orthopedic surgeon will tell you what treatments may work best to relieve your symptoms. Thankfully, many ruptured discs heal well on their own with rest and some over-the-counter pain medications. Other cases, however, may require other interventions, such as:
- Corticosteroid injections to affected areas to relieve painful inflammation
- Arthroscopic, small incision microdiscectomy to remove the damaged portions of the disc
- Laminectomy, a more extensive open spinal surgery that removes a portion of the affected vertebrae and thus relieves pressure on the associated nerves
Avoiding Disc Herniation
People who smoke or are obese carry an increased risk of disc herniation. Construction or other jobs requiring heavy lifting may also rupture discs, and of course, advanced age and its associated problems of arthritis and osteoporosis are definite risk factors for this common orthopedic problem.
Good back mechanics when lifting helps avoid disc herniation and other musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, be sure to stay well-hydrated, exercise regularly, keep proper body weight, and stop smoking. Your primary care physician will be happy to help you with these practical health strategies.
Herniated Disc Treatment in Dover, NJ
At Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey, we offer accurate diagnosis and treatment of numerous musculoskeletal problems, including herniated discs and other spinal conditions. Dr. Joel Spielman is board-certified and fellowship-trained in spinal surgery. He is the expert to consult for your neck and back pain and other symptoms of disc issues.
We look forward to seeing you at our Dover, NJ, office soon!