Between the vertebrae are discs that allow the back to move, flex and absorb shock. A herniated disc, also referred to as slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the center portion of the disc puts pressure on the nerve causing pain. This results from a traumatic injury, repetitive strain or wear and tear from age.
- Pain in the back
- Tingling or numbness in the arm or leg
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (Seek medical assistance immediately if you experience this symptom, as it may be a sign of a serious condition)
- Muscle weakness in one arm or leg
- Pain in neck, shoulders and/or arm
The doctor may recommend rest, hot and cold therapy and modifying activities.
Anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve pain and inflammation associated with a herniated disc. The doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxants or other medications to manage symptoms.
Epidural injections of corticosteroids to the affected region can provide pain relief, when medication is not an option, or is ineffective. Since there are possible side effects, only a limited number of injections are appropriate.
A brace or other advanced support can be used to limit motion and allow healing to begin.
Certified Physical Therapists work closely with doctors to create an individualized program to maximize healing and restore function, strength and mobility.
When conservative treatment fails, surgery may be considered as a treatment option. A variety of surgical procedures are available such as discectomy, laminectomy or endoscopic microdiscectomy, each used to remove the herniated disc, which sometimes is accompanied by a fusion to provide added stability.