The discs are cushy pads that exist between each of the vertebrae in your spine. They have a jelly-like substance in them that, when leaked out, can cause pain, numbness, and weakness when it irritates your nearby nerves. A herniated disc has been penetrated or slipped out of place causing leakage and nerve pain.
Many people have disc herniations without symptoms and require no treatment. But, in many cases, disc herniation can be debilitatingly painful. You might experience:
Leg pain or arm pain, depending on where the herniation occurred
Numbness or tingling in the area associated with the affected nerves
Weakness in muscles associated with the affected nerves
Herniations can occur in your lower back or the neck area. Lower back herniations usually affect the sciatic nerve, which, when pinched, causes numbness and pain in your leg. Cervical, or neck, herniations can cause shoulder pain or arm dysfunction.
People can be genetically predisposed to developing a disc herniation. Also, if you are overweight or spend a lot of time lifting large items you might be at greater risk.
For the most part, disc herniations occur because of the natural aging process. The triggering event could be lifting a large item, moving something heavy, or twisting and turning while carrying a heavy item.
Dr. Berkower offers physical therapy, injections, and medications to help you manage the pain of disc herniation. These treatments can also help you to avoid surgery.
Interlaminar epidural steroid injections involve injecting numbing medication combined with a steroid to reduce inflammation and pain. Transforaminal epidural steroid injections around nerve roots can calm irritation and inflammation in the leg and arm.
Exercise can help speed the healing of a herniated disc or another injury. You receive a customized physical therapy and exercise plan that helps your particular condition and works with your existing fitness level.
Extending the spine with McKenzie back and neck exercises may also help reduce your leg and arm pain. The McKenzie method moves pain from your leg or arm to your back or neck. The purpose of this treatment is to move the pain to an area where you can manage it more easily. You learn what these exercises are and how to do them correctly as part of your treatment plan.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!