WellSpine Professional Association - Herniated Disc
Back pain is not uncommon as people grow older. While it may simply be the result of not lifting properly or poor body mechanics, sometimes the source of the pain are one or more herniated discs. If that’s the case, you may need the services of a neurosurgeon. A disc herniation can cause other problems if untreated. WellSpine Professional Association in Dallas and Fort Worth wants you to know these things about herniated discs.
Let’s start with the anatomy of the spine. The bones (vertebrae) of the spine are stacked one atop the other and held together by ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Between each pair of vertebrae is a small, rounded structure of cartilage known as a disc. A tough outer layer called the annulus is filled with softer, jelly-like material (the nucleus). Like an air-filled tire, the spinal discs cushion the vertebrae and keep the bones from rubbing together. Over time, the disc can become worn or deteriorate, allowing fragments of disc material to protrude into the spinal column.
When Disc Herniation Occurs
Also called a slipped, bulging or ruptured disc, a herniated disc can be caused by an acute injury or from degeneration over a period of time. Once degeneration has begun, even minor stress such as twisting or lifting can result in disc herniation. More common in the low back, disc herniation can actually occur at any point in the spine. Symptoms depend on the location of the disc but typically include pain. You may develop numbness or weakness in the areas served by the nerves near the herniated disc. In more severe cases, bladder and bowel function can be affected.
How a Neurosurgeon Can Help
The first step in treating back pain is to obtain a diagnosis. A thorough physical examination will identify the specific symptoms in your condition. Diagnostic imaging studies such as an MRI or CT scan can allow the neurosurgeon to see body structures and pinpoint the problem. In many cases, conservative therapy such as medication, stretching and strengthening exercises, or improving posture and body mechanics can help control and diminish pain. Surgery may be indicated with incapacitating pain, neurological deficits or if conservative treatment doesn’t help. Surgical treatment varies from a less invasive procedure called a microdiscectomy through disc replacement, bone removal or bone grafting.
Contact Our WellSpine Professional Association in Dallas and Fort Worth
If you have back pain, especially if it doesn’t get better with rest and other conservative treatments, please contact WellSpine Professional Association at (214) 819-9600. Neurosurgeon Francisco Battle can assess your condition and make recommendations to help if you do have a disc herniation. He can also provide other therapeutic options or make referrals for physical therapy. We have two offices to serve the Dallas and Fort Worth Areas.