Primary care physicians may be the first to treat slipped spines. However it is important to get evaluated at an advanced center for spine care as soon as possible. Early and expert intervention can help prevent the condition getting worse.
What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc could cause pain, weakness, and numbness in your arms and legs. A herniated, or also called a ruptured, disc is a problem with the soft and rubber disc between the spinal bone. A ruptured disc can result in back pain or neck pain.
Herniated Discs are very common and do NOT always require treatment. Most cases can be treated by rest. If your symptoms persist, you will need to consult an orthopedic surgeon that specializes only in spine surgery.
What Causes a Herniated Disc
Herniated discs often result from age. As we age our discs and ligaments weaken. A minor injury could cause a disc to burst, and the older you get, Herniated spines can also occur as a result of aging. If your family has had herniated spines in the past, there is a possibility that you will also get them.
Herniated Disc: Symptoms
Symptoms from herniated Discs generally only occur when the disc presses on a neuron. This can cause weakness, nerve pain, and numbness. Some symptoms may affect the arms and legs. Experts suggest that if your herniated spinal disc is in the lower back, then you will typically feel the most pain around your buttocks. Your calf and thighs are also affected. As well, you might feel pain in a portion of your foot. You might feel the most pain in your shoulder or arm if you have a herniated spinal disc in your neck. It is possible to experience no symptoms or little discomfort if your herniated spine is not pressing against a nerve.
Who is at highest risk for developing a herniated disc
You can have a herniated or bulging disc. But there are certain factors that may increase your risk.
- Career: If your job is physically demanding, you’re more likely to get a herniated spinal disc, neck pain, and back pain.
- Your discs can begin to decline with age. A herniated disc will be more common the older you get.
- Sex: Men are more likely than women to have a herniated spine.
- Overweight can cause a herniated disc.
How can I prevent a herniated disc from occurring?
Herniated discs may not always be preventable. However, these steps can help you to avoid them.
- Good posture is key
- Keep active and pay attention to the muscle groups that support the spine: core (back), trunk, back, and lower-back).
- Avoid shoes with flat bottoms and heels that provide poor support.
- You can eat healthily and keep a healthy body weight
- Do not sit down for long periods
- Make stretching a regular part of you daily routine, even if it’s at your desk.
Herniated Disc Treatment
There are many treatments for herniated Discs. Some include rest and others. Most people who experience a herniated or bulging disc need to take a break and concentrate on keeping it from getting worse. If symptoms do not improve within six weeks, it is possible to visit a spine specialist or physical therapist.
Can a Herniated-Disc Heal On Its Own?
Conservative treatment or rest and activity modification can make herniated spines disappear. Sometimes, a herniated spinal disc may still be present. However, if the symptoms are not severe, it’s okay to leave it alone.
Seek help from a spine specialist if your symptoms persist or worsen. Herniated discs can be treated by many types of medical providers. However, only neurosurgeons as well as orthopedic surgeons can provide surgery for herniated spines.
Providers of non-surgical treatment
The goal of herniated disc treatment is to relieve you pain and discomfort while increasing your mobility. Most cases of herniated disc treatment are nonsurgical. This is because it reduces pain and discomfort. Nonsurgical treatments that are most effective include rest, anti inflammatory medications (physical therapy), and epidural corticosteroid injections.
The following providers offer nonsurgical treatments to treat a herniated spinal disc:
- Family practitioners (family medicine doctors)
- Orthopedic Surgeons
- Pain medicine specialists
- Physicians are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Physical therapists
Providers for Surgical Care
If your symptoms are severe enough that nonsurgical treatment fails to alleviate them within six weeks, you might be a candidate. The most common treatment for herniated discs involves the removal of the damaged disc. This is a discectomy. The doctors who perform discectomy are neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons.
- Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the medical, surgical and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting muscles and bones, including the spine.
- Neurosurgeons specialize in the surgical treatment for diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system, including spine.
- Orthopedic surgeons as well as neurosurgeons can specialize in specific areas of orthopedic or neurosurgery.
Top Things to Watch for in a Doctor
Find a doctor that is familiar with the conditions when searching for a doctor for herniated disc treatment. Seek out a doctor that has extensive experience treating similar patients.
Look specifically for providers who
- Specialize in spinal surgery and board-certified in their specialty.
- You have experience with herniated discs and minimally invasive procedures.
- You are comfortable speaking with them and they answer your questions.