WHAT IS A HERNIATED DISC?
As you may remember from high school science, our spinal cord goes down our spine protected by our vertebrae, the bones that make up our spine.
In between each bone is a disc, a small, jelly-like substance that buffers the vertebrae.
Unfortunately, in many accidents, the disc is damaged, and the disk material leaks out of its space. This can cause a number of problems. The disk material itself may impinge (or squeeze) the nerve, causing significant pain.
Additionally, the center of the disc contains material (nucleus pulposus) that may also leak. These chemicals may themselves irritate the spinal nerves and cause pain.
SYMPTOMS OF HERNIATED DISC
A herniated disc that affects a nerve is often quite painful. It may also be accompanied by radiating pain, pain that travels down your back or even into your legs. Depending on which vertebrae has the problem, you may also get tingling in your fingers, hands or feet. Again, depending on the location of the injury, you may experience weakness and even bladder issues.
If you have these symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment. A herniated disc is a serious injury.
Many physicians will start with a conservative course of treatment, which may include physical therapy or strengthening exercises.
If the conservative care doesn’t help, then your physician may suggest the use of steroid injections. While steroid injections don’t “fix” the problem, they may help with pain relief. Some of our clients get significant relief from the use of injections, and others get relief that only lasts a day or two.
If conservative treatment and steroid injections don’t provide significant relief, then many patients and clients require surgery.
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