The spinal cord is a column of nerves that connects the brain to the rest of the body, allowing one to control their movements. The spinal column is made up of a series of bones stacked onto each other, and each bone is cushioned by discs. The spinal discs act as rubbery pads between the vertebrae, which protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities, such as walking or twisting.
Each disc is composed of two parts: a tough outer portion (annulus) and a soft inner core (nucleus). Injury or weakness can cause the nucleus to protrude through the annulus. This is known as a herniated disc, sometimes referred to as a slipped or prolapsed disc. This causes pain and discomfort in the back, arms or legs, depending on where the herniated disc is located.
Herniated discs can occur in any part of the spine but are most common in the lower part of the back (the lumbar spine). Signs and symptoms depend on where the disc is located and whether the disc is adding pressure to a nerve, causing pain and discomfort. Common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling, aching or burning sensations in the affected area
- Pain that radiates to the arms or legs
Herniated discs are most often the result of daily wear and tear on the spine, also referred to as degeneration. As one ages, the discs become less flexible and worn out over the course of time, making it more prone to tearing or rupturing. Other causes include:
- Injury, such as sudden, jerky movements
- Combination of degeneration and injury
There are numerous treatment options for a herniated disc. These include:
- Epidural steroid injection
- Medial branch block
- Pulsed radiofrequency neuromodulation
- Trigger point injections
- Spinal cord stimulator
- Intrathecal pump
We understand that each patient’s pain is unique. Therefore, the treatment recommended to each patient will be personalized to fit their condition and lifestyle. Our multi-disciplinary team of physicians offers advanced interventional and minimally-invasive techniques to help treat chronic, complex pain. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your concerns and what treatment options might be right for you!