Herniated discs most often occur from ages 30 to 50, and they’re the top cause of sciatica, an often excruciating pain that shoots down your leg. If you develop back or neck pain due to a herniated disc, you can find relief with help from Randolph Bishop, MD, Kelli Hendley, FNP, and the team at Neurosurgical Solutions in Savannah, Georgia. They offer comprehensive care, from diagnosis and conservative care, through minimally invasive endoscopic surgery when needed. To get relief from your pain, call the office or request an appointment online today.
The discs between spinal vertebrae are made of a strong, fibrous outer cover that encloses a thick, gel-like fluid in the center. This structure gives discs the ability to absorb shock, stabilize your spine, and support movement.
A herniated disc may appear following an injury, but it most often develops due to changes in the discs. Over the years, discs dehydrate. Additionally, repeating the same movements leads to weak spots and tears in the outer cover.
Every time you move, pressure from the vertebrae pushes the inner gel through the weak spot, creating a bulging disc. When the cover tears, the gel leaks out. That’s when you have a herniated disc.
Pain is the primary symptom of a herniated disc. Since herniated discs usually occur in the lower back, that’s where you feel the pain. Though not as common, you can get a herniated disc in your neck.
The pain occurs when the bulging disc pushes against the nerves or when the leaking gel causes nerve inflammation and irritation. When you have a compressed nerve in your spine, you may also develop pain and tingling that radiate down your legs or arms.
If you have a severely damaged nerve, you may experience leg numbness, leg weakness, foot drop, or difficulty controlling your bladder or bowel. These signs are red flags telling you to get medical help.
A herniated disc may heal on its own. For this reason, your treatment begins with conservative therapies such as ice, heat, limiting your activity, and physical therapy. You may also need muscle relaxants or a steroid injection to reduce inflammation.
If you still have pain after conservative treatment or the pain gets worse, the next step is spine surgery. In most cases, Dr. Bishop performs a minimally invasive endoscopic discectomy.
During minimally invasive spine surgery, Dr. Bishop makes a tiny incision and uses a retractor to separate the muscles. Then he inserts an endoscope and uses it to remove the damaged part of the disc or the entire disc. In most cases, this is an outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia.
A discectomy decompresses the nerves by eliminating the pressure or irritation caused by the disc. If Dr. Bishop takes out the entire disc, he does a spinal fusion or inserts an artificial disc to restore spinal stability.
If you need relief from the pain of a herniated disc, call Neurosurgical Solutions or schedule an appointment online today.