Herniated discs occur at a younger age than many people anticipate, with most cases first diagnosed in patients between 30 to 50 years old. At Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants, the board-certified physicians offer comprehensive treatment for herniated discs. They begin with conservative care and recommend surgery only when the disc doesn’t heal. If you have chronic neck or back pain, call the office in Merrillville, Indiana, or book an appointment online today.
The discs located between your spinal vertebrae consist of an inner gel-like core enclosed in a tough outer cover. This unique structure allows the discs to absorb shock and provide spinal stability while allowing smooth movement.
Over years of wear and tear, the outer cover can develop a weak spot. When you move, pressure placed on the disc pushes the inner core through the vulnerable area and creates a bulging disc; eventually, it tears or cracks.
The inner gel leaks out of the disc when it ruptures, and you have a herniated disc.
You can have a herniated disc in your neck (cervical spine), but it most often appears in your lower back (lumbar spine). A herniated disc affects spinal movement and causes pain in the area where it occurs.
Herniated discs also damage or irritate nerves. An inflamed nerve adds to your pain, while a pinched nerve may cause pain and tingling that travels along the nerve.
These nerve-related symptoms radiate down your arms or legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc. For example, sciatica, one of the most common problems arising from a herniated disc, causes sudden pain that shoots down one leg.
Severe nerve damage can result in numbness and muscle weakness in your arms and hands or legs and feet.
The team at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants begins your treatment with conservative care. You may need to limit activities that stress your spine, take medications, or start physical therapy.
Your herniated disc may heal with nonsurgical treatments, but if your symptoms don't improve or they worsen, the next step might be surgery to repair the problem. During your procedure, your provider may remove only the damaged part of the disc or take out the entire disc.
If they remove the disc, they replace it with an artificial disc or fuse the bones by putting a bone graft between the vertebrae. The bone graft fills in the space and promotes new bone growth allowing the two vertebrae to fuse together.
Both surgical options stabilize your spine and ease your back pain. A disc replacement restores normal spine movement, while a bone fusion stops movement in that one segment of your spine. Since the fusion only affects two vertebrae, it doesn't limit your overall mobility.
If you need relief from the pain of a herniated disc, call Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants or book an appointment online today.