Herniated, ruptured, or bulging — these are all variations of the same problem, which is a disc that’s partially escaped its space and is pressing on sensitive nerve roots along your spine.
At Alternative Disc Therapy, as our name implies, Dr. Warren Bleiweiss and our team specialize in spinal health and the many problems that can develop in your intervertebral discs. Our belief is that surgery should only be used as a last-resort option, especially when we offer effective nonsurgical treatments that garner the same, if not better, results.
Here’s a look at how we treat herniated discs without surgery.
Behind problematic discs
To better understand why our nonsurgical treatments of herniated or bulging discs may hold the key to your back pain, let’s first review how and why the problem develops in the first place.
Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae that stretch from the base of your head to your pelvis to provide the foundation of your skeleton. To aid in this enormous responsibility, the top 24 vertebrae are separated by 23 intervertebral discs, which provide shock absorption and flexibility along your spine.
Each of your discs is made up of a tough, fibrous outer layer called the annulus fibrosus, which houses the nucleus pulposus, a jelly-like substance that keeps your vertebrae well cushioned and supported.
As time goes by, overuse and the natural aging process can rob these discs of their structural integrity. For example, with age, your discs naturally lose moisture, which makes them brittle and more susceptible to herniation.
When your discs weaken in this way, they can leak some of the nucleus pulposus or bulge out of their intervertebral spaces, irritating the highly sensitive nerve roots that branch out from your spinal cord.
Tackling herniated and bulging discs
At our practice, our goal is to approach spinal issues in a way that provides you with more sustainable results by working with your body, rather than performing surgery which brings serious trauma to the area that’s already injured and inflamed.
If we determine that your back pain is due to disc damage, we offer ozone injection treatments, which provide your discs with the necessary resources to heal naturally.
Ozone injections accomplish several key objectives, including:
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Shrinking the piece of your disc that’s irritating your nerves
- Increasing healthy blood flow
- Reducing inflammation
- Promoting healthier cell proliferation
We deliver the ozone injections in an outpatient, same-day procedure, and you can go back to work and your regular routine the next day (of course, we don’t recommend strenuous workouts immediately after your treatments).
Since this treatment doesn’t entail surgery, there are no surgery-related side effects. Additionally, ozone is beneficial for the long-term health of your discs.
Do ozone injections really work?
Ozone injections have been used for at least a century in addressing a wide range of problems, including herniated discs. Ozone disc injection treatment has been performed in Europe for at least 45 years, and Dr. Bleiweiss pioneered this procedure in the United States more than 10 years ago.
In that time, we’ve seen positive outcomes among our patients on a routine basis. Patients who seek this treatment are usually people who want to avoid back surgery or have had failed surgery. Our patients come from all over the country because we’re the only clinic in the US that routinely performs this procedure.
The efficacy of ozone disc injections has been proven by many clinical studies, and our own clinical experience certainly correlates to these study findings. For example, one small study found that among the 13 patients who received oxygen-ozone injections for lumbar disc issues, motor weakness resolved in 100% of the patients and 84.6% reported complete pain relief.
In another study that included 84 patients who had a history of herniated discs for more than two years, 92.7% had an alleviation of symptoms. Breaking these numbers down, total pain relief was achieved in 42 cases (50%) and partial relief in 35 cases (42.6%). The remaining seven of the 84 patients (8.3%) had little-to-no changes on imaging.
If you’d like to explore whether ozone injections are right for your herniated disc, please contact our office in Caldwell, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.