If you have pain in your neck or lower back that is accompanied by weakness or numbness in your arms or legs, a herniated disc might be the root cause of your symptoms. If you are living with pain that comes from a herniated disc, Santa Monica‘s team of spine and pain management specialists at Source Healthcare provides expert, customized care. Appointments are available by calling the practice or booking a visit online today.
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What is a Herniated Disc?
You have a cushioning disc between each of your vertebrae that absorbs shock and helps your spine to twist and bend. Each of those discs has a gel-like interior that is surrounded by a firm, rubbery shell. A herniated disc occurs when the outer shell tears and the soft interior bulges out.
There is very little extra space in your spinal column, so the herniated disc has a high chance of compressing a nerve. Nerve compression causes localized pain as well as radiating pain, numbness, and weakness.
What Causes a Herniated Disc to Occur?
In most cases, herniated discs are due to wear and tear. As you age, your spinal discs become dry, less flexible, and more vulnerable to injury. For example, if your spinal discs are already weak, and you lift something heavy or suddenly twist your spine, one of your discs could tear and become herniated.
Other factors that contribute to your risk of developing herniated discs include your weight, your genetics, and your profession. For example, if you have a physically demanding job, you may stress your spinal discs more than someone who has a more sedentary career. Additionally, carrying extra weight can stress your spine and increase your risk of injury.
Where Do Herniated Discs Occur the Most?
In most cases, herniated discs occur in the lower back. This is because of the immense strain your lower back experiences, by bearing the load of your entire upper body. This strain can cause your weakened and worn-out disc to herniate.
Apart from the lower back, herniated discs can also occur anywhere along the length of the spine, in the neck, shoulder, or arm and the thoracic region.
For real help and answers about a possible herniated disc, Santa Monica has Source Healthcare as its leading provider.
Does a Herniated Disc Always Hurt?
No, it doesn’t.
Many people may have a herniated disc, but may not experience any pain. This happens because the herniated disc occurs over a long period and is rarely a sudden occurrence. Constant wear and tear of the disc can make it slowly tear through the outer sac covering it. Until the disc presses against the nerve, you won’t feel any pain.
Such discs that tear through the outer wall, but which haven’t compressed the nerve yet are called bulging discs.
Can I Have Multiple Herniated Discs?
Yes, if you have experienced a very severe injury or there is extensive wear and tear of the discs, you may sometimes have multiple herniated discs. However, note that this is very rare.
It is more likely that you have multiple bulging discs because bulging can happen whenever above-the-normal stress is experienced by your discs. Bulging discs, if untreated, can lead to serious degenerative conditions like lumbar stenosis, which will need surgery to treat.
If you experience any type of discomfort in your back when sitting, sleeping, walking, running, or bending over, please visit our Santa Monica herniated disc treatment center for help.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
If you experience the following symptoms, you may have a herniated disc:
Shooting pain in the region of the herniation
Pain radiates all over the back and sometimes, the limbs.
Numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.
Extreme weakness in the affected area and the inability to do day-to-day activities.
Inflammation in the injured region. Shooting pain in the region of the herniation.
How is a Herniated Disc Diagnosed?
The team at Source Healthcare uses comprehensive exams and diagnostic testing to diagnose herniated discs in Santa Monica and other causes of back pain. They often use radiologic imaging, including X-rays and MRIs as well as nerve conduction studies, to confirm their diagnosis and pinpoint the location of your herniated disc.
Yes, herniated discs are capable of healing themselves. When we say, “heal themselves”, we mean that there is rarely any need for serious medical intervention, such as surgery.
At Source Healthcare, the doctors provide medications to soothe the inflammation and pain in the herniated disc and to facilitate faster healing. Injections may be provided to lubricate the disc and the walls, ensuring there is less pain when the discs move back into place.
Surgery is the rarest treatment for herniated discs and it is recommended only in extreme cases.
Do Herniated Discs Heal Themselves?
How Long Does it Take for Herniated Discs to Heal?
Typically, herniated discs should heal in less than 6 weeks. However, if your condition doesn’t improve for more than three months, please consult the Source Healthcare team for treatment.
How is a Herniated Disc Treated?
The team at Source Healthcare provides state-of-the-art, customized treatment plans for herniated discs. While your treatment plan is created to address your specific needs, it may include:
- Stem cell therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Physical therapy
- Epidural injections
- Nerve root blocks
- Percutaneous discectomy
- Ozone therapy
Source Healthcare actively participates in clinical research to stay at the cutting edge of emerging medical treatments and technologies. We are particularly interested in finding new ways to implement regenerative medicine treatments including stem cells and PRP.
Call Source Healthcare or schedule an appointment online today if you have back pain and want attentive expert care.