As strong and durable as our anatomy is, time or overexertion can take its toll – particularly on the spine. Back pain is the most common reason worldwide for absenteeism from work because the back is indeed involved in every activity you do.
One of the most frustrating forms of back pain is a herniated disc. Let’s talk about what herniated discs are, how to deal with them, and where you can go in Caldwell for long-lasting relief from back pain.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Also referred to as a bulging disc, ruptured disc, or slipped disc, a herniated disc is when one of the soft discs in the spine develops a tear, and so the softer inner nucleus material protrudes outward from the disc. Consequently, the “leaking” material may bulge outward against a nerve in the spinal cord, and this can cause the sensation of constant pain.
What Causes Herniated Discs?
Although the majority of herniated discs are caused by simple wear and tear due to aging, they can occur at any age except in young children. Constant bending, walking and twisting every day for many years eventually causes the spine to degenerate to some degree.
The strong outer layer of an intervertebral disc can weaken, leading to the bulging of the inner material and, ultimately, a herniated disc. However, herniated discs can also be caused by injuries (from playing sports, being hurt in a car accident, slip-and-fall, etc.), heavy lifting, vigorous physical activities, and repetitive movements of the spine.
What Are the Different Types of Herniated Discs?
There are three types of herniated discs based on their location on the spine. The most common is a lumbar herniated disc, which affects the lower back. It is the least serious but can cause pain nonetheless because the damaged or deteriorated disc puts pressure on the spinal nerve root and can cause leg and sciatica pain and/or tingling.
A cervical herniated disc occurs in one of the discs in your neck (cervical spine). The disc presses on the adjacent nerve root, causing severe neck pain, which often radiates down your shoulder and arm.
A thoracic herniated disc is most commonly associated with degenerative disc disease and can be quite serious, leading to other serious medical conditions and having the most impact on your mobility and organ function.
What Are the Symptoms Associated With Herniated Discs?
The telltale signs of a herniated disc include sharp or burning pain in the arm, shoulder, or leg, numbness or tingling in body parts served by the affected pinched nerves, and weakness in muscles served by the affected nerve – possibly causing you to stumble or affecting your ability to lift or hold items.
A prime example of a herniated disc symptom is sciatica, which is when the herniated disc presses against the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This causes pain that radiates deep into the buttocks and down one or both of your legs.
How Do You Deal with a Herniated Disc at Home?
Most herniated disc conditions actually tend to heal without treatment within one to six months. Self-healing measures that can facilitate recovery include:
- Avoiding physical activity or movements that place too much stress on the spine
- Taking over-the-counter pain medicine to relieve mild to moderate back pain
- Performing gentle exercises and stretches that help strengthen the spine and back muscles
- Gradually increasing the amount and level of physical activity as the herniated disc heals, and your back pain subsides
What if These Measures Don’t Work to Relieve My Back Pain?
There are a wide variety of effective regenerative medicine and pain-management treatments for patients who have moderate to severe back pain associated with herniated discs. These include:
- Ozone injection treatments – Ozone herniated disc injections work to relieve pressure on your spinal nerve by shrinking the herniated portion of the disc. Ozone is a naturally occurring gas that, when injected into the damaged disc, stimulates the cells in the outer layer of the disc to increase in number – which helps to repair the tear that is causing the herniation. This treatment also improves blood flow to the area, decreases inflammation, and improves the ability of the cells to combat oxidative stress.
- Stem cell treatments – Stem cells are the unique cells present in your body that have the innate ability to help your body repair itself naturally. These cells can change into various types of cells when necessary, such as in the wake of an accident or sports injury.
Regenerative stem cells migrate to areas of your body that are affected by an injury or disease to help repair the damage. As such, stem cell treatments are designed to activate your own stem cells for the purpose of repairing damage or injury, so they can potentially repair a herniated disc and alleviate your chronic pain.
Herniated Disc Expert in Caldwell, New Jersey
Triple board-certified physician Dr. Warren Bleiweiss has helped countless patients from all over the U.S. and Canada relieve their herniated disc pain once and for all. If you are suffering from back pain due to a herniated disc and want to know more about your treatment options, call our practice today at (973) 403-3334 or fill out our Request an Appointment form online now.
We also offer telemedicine appointments for your convenience. We look forward to helping you enjoy a more pain-free lifestyle!
Herniated disc – American Association of Neurological Surgeons – https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
Treatments for herniated discs – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/herniated-disk/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354101