Herniated Discs at NJ Spine and Wellness
A herniated disc occurs when the soft, gel-like interior of an intervertebral disc bulges out through a tear in the annulus fibrosis, which is the disc’s tough outer ring. When the disc’s center seeps out, it can make contact and press on the spinal cord and its surrounding nerves, leading to pain and discomfort. This condition most frequently occurs in the lower back and is sometimes called a slipped or bulging disc.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
Although symptoms vary from person to person, sudden pain and stiffness in the lower back are usually the most prominent signs of a herniated disc. Often, the pain will radiate down the back into the buttocks and the legs. Other symptoms that may accompany your pain include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Less mobility
- Reduced coordination
Causes of a Herniated Disc
There are several ways that you can develop a herniated disc, such as:
A herniated disc is most often the result of the natural aging process as our discs degenerate and lose their ability to retain fluids over time.
Smoking has been linked to this condition because it lessens the flow of oxygen to your discs, causing them to break down faster than usual.
Following a sedentary lifestyle can place added pressure on your spinal cord, increasing your risk of developing a slipped disc.
Obesity may contribute to herniated discs as the excess weight can place added stress on your spine’s discs.
Improper Lifting Technique
One of the most common causes of a herniated disc is by lifting objects with improper form. For example, lifting with your back rather than your legs or twisting as you lift are frequent mistakes people make when working out.
A traumatic accident like a car crash or fall can lead to a slipped disc.
Those who play competitive sports or work a job that requires repetitive lifting, pulling, or twisting motions may become afflicted with a herniated disc. These repetitive motions can weaken the back and abdominal muscles, placing heightened stress on the spine.
Diagnosing a Herniated Disc
There are numerous causes of back pain, so it is vital to determine if your back pain is from a herniated disc or another possible condition. Your specialist at NJ Spine and Wellness will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to identify the source of your discomfort.
During your evaluation, your provider will review your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical. The physical will assess your ability to stand, walk, sit, and lift your legs. To confirm the presence of a herniated disc, your provider may order one or more of the following imaging tests:
- CT scan
Causes of a Herniated Disc
Initial treatment for a herniated disc typically entails various non-surgical methods, including:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Activity modification
- Epidural steroid injection
- Pain medications
- Spinal decompression
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Nerve blocks
Our team only considers surgery if conservative techniques and interventional spine treatment have failed to relieve your pain after six weeks or if you experience severe symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Muscle weakness
Your spine specialist at NJ Spine and Wellness may recommend a discectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion to surgically treat your herniated disc.