When it comes to a herniated disc, how much do you know about it? Do you know the many treatment options that are available? Here at Neurosurgery of Central Florida, we have all the answers you are searching for. Located in the heart of Central Florida, get all the information you need today!
What Is A Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. Discs that become herniated usually are in an early stage of degeneration. The spinal canal has limited space, which is inadequate for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. Due to this displacement, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe.
What Is The Treatment
Conservative treatment, mainly modifying activities to avoid movement that causes pain and taking pain medication, relieves symptoms in most people within a few days or weeks.
● Over-the-counter pain medications. If your pain is mild to moderate, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medication.
● Cortisone injections. If your pain doesn't improve with oral medications, your doctor might recommend a corticosteroid that can be injected into the area around the spinal nerves. Spinal imaging can help guide the needle.
● Muscle relaxers. You might be prescribed these if you have muscle spasms. Sedation and dizziness are common side effects.
● Opioids. Because of the side effects of opioids and the potential for addiction, many doctors hesitate to prescribe them for disk herniation. If other medication doesn't relieve your pain, your doctor might consider short-term use of opioids, such as codeine or an oxycodone-acetaminophen combination (Percocet, Roxicet). Sedation, nausea, confusion and constipation are possible side effects from these drugs.
● Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to help with your pain. Physical therapists can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize the pain of a herniated disk.
● Few people with herniated disks eventually need surgery. Your doctor might suggest surgery if conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms after six weeks, especially if you continue to have:
● Poorly controlled pain
● Numbness or weakness
● Difficulty standing or walking
● Loss of bladder or bowel control
● In nearly all cases, surgeons can remove just the protruding portion of the disk. Rarely, the entire disk must be removed. In these cases, the vertebrae may need to be fused with a bone graft.
Contact Our Team Today
Dr. Ramirez is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. When it comes to all things you need to know about neck and back pain, he is the one to trust. Call Neurosurgery of Central Florida today for more information.