A herniated disc is a rupture of the jelly-like substance from inside one of the fibrous discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae of the spine. Herniation results in pressure on nearby nerves which can result in a variety of symptoms, depending on the location of the affected disc. These include:
- Numbness or weakness in the neck, arm or hand, shoulder, buttock, legs or feet
Any disc can rupture, but it is most likely to occur in the lower back as the result of disc degeneration over a period of time or a sudden strenuous action.
Your physician may include some of the following methods to treat a herniated disk:
- A period of greatly reduced activity, possibly even bed rest. Activity can usually be resumed gradually.
- Heat and/or ice therapy
- Gentle exercise
- Pain medications may be used to reduce pain
- Epidural steroids
Traction also may be helpful.
In many cases, pain will be relieved by these conservative treatments. However, if the pain is recurrent, or the conservative treatment does not help, surgery may be necessary.
If symptoms persist beyond one month, or if leg numbness or weakness, or loss of bowel or bladder control is present, you should contact your doctor immediately.
For more information about herniated discs of the spine, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).