Disc Herniation / Pinched Nerve
Disc herniation is one of the most common causes of lower back pain and sciatica
It develops when the spongy cushions in your spine break open or become damaged – resulting in painful symptoms.
Understanding disc herniation
Your spine is comprised of a number of bones, also called vertebrae. Each of these bones is cushioned by a spongy disc, which enables spinal flexibility and absorbs shock. When one of these structures bulges or breaks open, it’s called a herniated disc. A common problem, disc herniation tends to occur due to:
Natural wear and tear.
As you grow older, your discs naturally lose some of their flexibility and become more susceptible to damage.
An injury to the spine may result in cracks in the hard outer layer of the disc, which can ultimately cause the structure to bulge or break open.
Lifting heavy objects
A herniated disc is likely to develop if you use your back muscles to lift heavy objects, instead of your legs.
A herniated disc can occur anywhere along your spine and neck. However, it’s most common in the lower back, or the lumbar spine.
A herniated disc can appear with or without symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it’s typically because the damaged disc is applying abnormal pressure to the nerve roots, causing:
Pain in different areas of the body
If the herniated disc is located in your lower back, you will likely feel the pain in your buttocks, thigh and calves. If it’s located in your neck, the pain can extend into your arm and shoulder.
Pain that worsens with certain movements
In many cases, pain from a herniated disc will be exacerbated by changing positions, coughing or sneezing.
Numbness or a tingling sensation
A common herniated disc symptom, numbness or tingling will occur in areas of the body that are connected to the affected nerves.
Radiating pain down your leg
If the sciatic nerve is affected by the herniated disc, you may experience pain that radiates down your leg and foot, also known as sciatica.
To determine if your symptoms are caused by a herniated disc, our physiatrists will begin with a full physical examination. We’ll talk to you about the symptoms you are experiencing, and we’ll evaluate your back for pain and tender areas. From there, we will have you lie down on your back and move your legs to different positons, which can provide insight into exactly what’s causing your pain.
Frequently we may order an MRI to confirm the location of the herniated disc and obtain a baseline image before treatment, as well as to identify which nerves are involved and monitor progress and healing after treatment.s
Premier treatment for your herniated disc
In treating countless patients suffering from disc herniation, we have found that regenerative therapies – including platelet-rich plasma therapy, bone marrow stem cell therapy and prolotherapy – are among the optimal ways to resolve this condition. These innovative and natural approaches are promising alternatives to steroid injections and can help our patients potentially avoid the downtime and pain associated with back surgery.