The bones that make up the vertebrae of your spine have a cushion between them called a disc. A herniated disc in Houston is a condition that occurs anywhere along the spine and happens when the soft jelly-like center that makes up the disc pushes out through the annulus, which is the rubbery exterior of the disc. Patients with herniated discs complain of numbness and pain. For this reason, doctors must find a solution that restores quality of life to patients with herniated discs.
Although the most common symptoms of a herniated disc include arm and leg pain, numbness, and weakness, the treating physician should develop a more thorough diagnostic approach to understand the cause and severity of a patient’s condition. A comprehensive diagnosis must begin with a physical assessment. Your treating physician will palpate your body to determine areas of tenderness. During the physical evaluation, your doctor will also examine your neurological status by checking your reflexes, muscle strength, and ability to walk and feel sensations.
Your medical history is crucial for your doctor to review and determine whether an underlying condition may be causing your symptoms. Although your medical history and physical exam ate enough to confirm a herniated disc diagnosis, specific tests may be necessary to help your doctor understand the severity of your condition. For example, imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans can help pinpoint the damaged area of the spine that needs treatment. Patients with neurological issues may need to undergo nerve tests like electromyography that assesses the electrical activity during muscle contraction and rest.
What is the treatment for a herniated disc?
If you suspect that your symptoms may be due to a herniated disc, it may be best to seek medical intervention. Most patients with herniated discs find relief upon limiting their activities and avoiding any movements that cause them pain. However, some patients benefit from nonprescription pain medications. If your pain does not go away after trying conservative pain relief options, it may be time to visit a doctor. Neuropathic drugs are an excellent option for patients with neurological concerns, whereas muscle relaxers can help patients with muscle spasms.
Physical therapy is another conservative treatment for herniated discs. Working with a specialist to avoid injuring yourself more while performing the exercises is crucial. Moreover, professional help could increase treatment efficacy.
If your symptoms are not improving after trying out the conservative solutions, your doctor may recommend a surgical approach to deal with the root cause of your symptoms. For example, the protruding portion of the disc may need removal. In severe cases, a physician may need to eliminate an entire disc. A bone graft may be necessary to allow fusion with the vertebrae and thus restore stability. Some patients require an artificial disc to manage their condition. If you cannot do the things you enjoy due to the pain from your herniated disc, call Yancey Pain & Spine to schedule a consultation appointment and receive an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that will get you back on your feet again.