Herniated disc symptoms vary widely. A herniated disc in your neck can be quite painful, though. In NYC, herniated disc treatment takes many forms, such as lifestyle changes and treatment for herniated discs with minimally invasive medical tools. Come to our sports injury and pain management clinic to get your back pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our pain doctor Febin Melepura M.D. to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best sports pain management specialists in NYC.
There are few avoidable medical conditions as incapacitating as a herniated disc. Not only are most of the causes preventable, but not getting treatment for a herniated disc can haunt you for your whole life. Your doctors at the Sports and Pain Institute of NY know how to fix a herniated disc, so don’t wait for treatment.
Your spine is made up of 33 individual bones or vertebrae, held together by muscles and ligaments. Your spine encloses and protects your spinal cord, a long rope of nerves that basically execute the orders given by your brain. When everything’s working properly, you just take it for granted.
Anatomy of a Problem
The spinal vertebrae are separated by cushions called intervertebral discs. A spinal disc is an oval-shaped cushion with a soft center called the nucleus pulposus, surrounded by a tougher material called the annulus fibrosus. The disc operates like a shock absorber between two bones.
When the nucleus slips out into the annulus, or worse, past the boundary of the vertebral body, it’s called a herniated disc. The unfortunate problem with a herniated disc is that symptoms often don’t appear until the disc compresses one of the nerve bundles exiting the spinal cord.
Damaged Disc Causes
Age-related degeneration occurs as you grow older. Your discs become more brittle and more susceptible to tears and ruptures, even from minor injuries. This is called disc degeneration and is commonly seen in older men.
The other cause of disc herniation is strain or trauma. Repetitive, excessive or stressful movement of your spine — like heavy lifting or twisting and turning inappropriately — can damage one or more discs. Although rare, a fall or blow to your back can cause a herniated disc. Risk factors include:
- Excess weight
- Physically demanding careers, including athletic careers
- Improper technique during exercise
- Poor nutrition
Speaking of Symptoms
Discs in your lower back are more vulnerable because they bear more of your weight, so herniated disc symptoms appear in your lower back or legs. If you have a herniated disc in your neck, the symptoms are in your shoulders and arms. The most common herniated disc symptoms include:
- Limb pain. For lumbar vertebrae, you feel pain in your buttocks, thigh or calf; for cervical vertebrae, the pain is in your arm or shoulder.
- Numbness or tingling. You experience numbness or tingling in whatever area of your body the compressed nerve serves.
- The muscles supplied by the affected nerve become weak, which manifests as stumbling or the inability to grasp things.
- Cauda equina syndrome. If the disc compresses a large bundle of nerves near the base of your spine, it causes severe pain, weakening and bladder and bowel dysfunction. This needs immediate treatment.
- No symptoms. You may not experience symptoms at all; the herniation is only discovered when testing for other conditions.
The Right Diagnosis
Usually, a good medical history and a physical examination are enough to diagnose a herniated disc. Your Midtown Manhattan physician knows how to look for herniated disc symptoms. A herniated disc in your lower back has different symptoms than a herniated disc in your neck.
The physical exam includes checking for tenderness in your back and putting your limbs into various positions to elicit specific clinical signs. You may require a neurological exam to test your gait, reflexes, power and sensations of your affected limbs. This helps your doctor confirm the diagnosis.
Herniated Disc Treatment
While an experienced sports medicine doctor knows how to fix a herniated disc, there’s no specific cure for herniated discs. There are, however, many modalities of treatment for herniated discs, including:
- Conservative therapy
- Alternative options
- Nerve block injections
- Surgical procedures
Conservative treatment includes specific lifestyle changes, such as proper nutrition, exercise and weight management. Physical therapy introduces you to helpful exercises and stretches, as well as applying heat and cold therapy. Injections work for mild cases, and surgery is an option for severe cases.
Get the Right Treatment for Herniated Disc
If you experience pain while your body’s trying to heal, it takes longer to get better. So, relieving the pain is part of your overall treatment plan. Whether your doctor prescribes medication, steroid injections, or pain psychology, herniated disc treatment must include pain management.
With all of the herniated disc treatment modalities available at your New York City sports medicine practice, there’s no reason to suffer. Even though there’s no cure for herniated discs, you can be pain-free. Doctors at the Sports and Pain Institute of NY know how to fix a herniated disc, but keeping it from happening again lies with you. Stop the repetitive movement that’s causing the problem and take better care of your back.
Do you have any questions about the herniated discs pain treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated back pain management doctor Febin Melepura MD of sports pain management and injury clinic in NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.