Herniated discs occur as the discs wear down over the years, but it doesn’t take long because most painful herniations appear between the ages of 30-50. The experienced neurosurgeons at the Brain and Spine Center of South Florida, in Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, have helped adults of all ages overcome the pain and regain mobility. If you’re ready to return to a more active life, call the nearest office or request an appointment online today.
The spinal discs are tucked between each vertebra, where they absorb shock and contribute to spinal stability. Each disc consists of a strong, fibrous cover that encloses a gel-like center.
Over time, the cover dehydrates and develops weak or cracked areas. Pressure from the vertebrae pushes the center through these weak spots, making it bulge out between the vertebrae. The bulging disc causes pain if it pushes against nerves.
A herniation occurs when the weak area tears and the inner gel leaks out. The gel irritates the nerves and causes inflammation, leading to pain and other symptoms. Once the inner gel leaks, the disc collapses and stops cushioning the vertebrae.
Though herniated discs can develop anywhere along your spine, they most often appear in your lower back. As a result, they cause lower back pain.
Depending on which nerve is pinched, the pain may shoot down one leg—a condition called sciatica. Pinched nerves also cause symptoms like numbness, burning, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg.
The team at the Brain and Spine Center of South Florida create a treatment plan that may include any of the following:
Resting for a short time may improve your pain, but don’t rest longer than a few days. When you return to your activities, take it slowly, being careful when you bend or lift and avoiding movements that cause pain.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen reduce inflammation and ease your pain.
Your physical therapist designs a customized plan that strengthens your back and abdominal muscles without stressing the herniated disc.
These injections direct steroids into the space along your spine, providing pain relief by reducing nerve inflammation.
As a last resort when conservative treatments don’t help, you may need surgery to remove the damaged part of the disc or possibly the entire disc.
After removing a disc, the neurosurgeons at the Brain and Spine Center of South Florida restore spinal stability with a spinal fusion or an artificial disc replacement.
When you need relief from back pain, with or without shooting leg pain, call the experts at the Brain and Spine Center of South Florida or book an appointment online today.