How to Spot a Herniated Disc

Do you have severe back and leg pain? Or do you have tingling or burning in your back or legs? These are signs that you may have a herniated disc. The physicians at  Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine specialize in treating musculoskeletal conditions and managing the accompanying pain. If you have a ruptured disc or suspect you do, they can give you a thorough evaluation and explain your treatment options.

Symptoms of a herniated disc 

A herniated disc can cause severe pain in your neck, back, legs, and arms. Any of the following conditions could also point to a herniated disc:

The type of pain you experience may vary, because a herniated disc can occur anywhere from your neck to your lower spine. If it occurs in your lower back, you may feel severe pain in your bottom, thigh, calf, or all three. It also may be very painful to sit down.

If the damaged disc is in your neck, you may experience pain in your shoulder and arm. The pain may become more intense if you cough or sneeze. 

How do herniated discs develop?

Your spine has 26 vertebrae, or bones. Between each bone is a pad, called a disc. These discs cushion your vertebrae and allow them to turn, twist, and move in all directions. They’re shock absorbers that prevent your vertebrae from touching.

The discs are hard on the outside with a gel-like substance inside. A herniated disc happens when some of the gel-like material inside the disc slips outside the disc through a crack in the disc wall. The gel material may irritate the nerves surrounding the spine. The ruptured disc can also put pressure on the surrounding nerves and thus cause severe pain.  

Treating herniated discs

In many cases, ruptured discs can heal with conservative treatments. The majority of people with herniated discs usually feel better in about six weeks. Conservative treatments include:

If the treatments above don’t work sufficiently, your doctor at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine can try other treatments, such as:

Most herniated discs can heal with the treatments described above, but in severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. They’ll explain all your options and give you guidance on which direction to go.

To get relief from your musculoskeletal pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine today.

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