When a disc is herniated, it presses against nerves in your spine, causing pain and weakness in the affected area. At One Oak Medical, expert orthopedic and spine surgeon Dr. Faisal Mahmood and the team of providers can help you resolve the discomfort and dysfunction associated with a herniated disc. Dr. Mahmood practices at the offices in Wayne, Paramus, Middletown, and Point Pleasant, New Jersey, as well as Staten Island, New York, so you can get the care you need no matter where you are. Call or book an appointment online today to learn more.
Between each of your vertebrae in the spine exists a rubbery cushion called a disc. These discs have a tough exterior that encases a squishy center, much like a jelly doughnut.
The “jelly” spills out and irritates nearby nerves if trauma or overuse causes the outside of the disc to tear or leak. That causes pain, weakness, and numbness that can radiate into your neck, back, legs, or arms, depending on the disc's location.
Most often herniated discs occur in the lower back, but they can also occur in the cervical spine by the neck.
In most cases, you can’t point to a single incident that caused your herniated disc. Often, it’s a result of gradual wear and tear, known as disc degeneration, that happens as you age. The degeneration occurs because your discs start to dry out as you age, becoming less flexible and more prone to rupture with simple movements.
These simple movements may include things like lifting something heavy while twisting. Also, in rare cases, a blow to your back or a serious fall can cause a disc herniation.
The pain and dysfunction of a herniated disc are often manageable with conservative treatments. Dr. Mahmood recommends over-the-counter pain medications if your pain is mild to moderate and may offer narcotics if you need a stronger pain reliever. Muscle relaxers and cortisone injections may also help reduce the pain associated with a herniated disc.
Physical therapy might also help you learn how to move more comfortably and safely if you have a herniated disc.
Surgery is not a common treatment for a herniated disc, but if you have severe numbness or weakness, loss of bladder or bowel control, or difficulty standing or walking, Dr. Mahmood may recommend it.
During surgery, Dr. Mahmood may remove just the offending part of the disc, or in some rare cases, he may have to remove the entire disc and fuse the vertebrae. He’ll discuss all treatment options with you during your consultation and come up with the best plan for your long-term health and well-being.
If you have pain and weakness associated with a herniated disc, call One Oak Medical or book an appointment online today to learn more about your treatment options.