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Disc Herniation

“A very common source of pain after age 30 that can be treated without surgery”

A herniated disc is part of the normal aging process. In many people, it is painless,  but in some individuals, it can result in severe debilitating pain. The disc begins to  break down in the third decade of life. It is most common in individuals aged 30 to 50 years.
A herniated disc can be exacerbated with repetitive strain, mechanical  overloading or trauma which can result in a progressive deterioration of the adjacent bone, muscles, joints and ligaments. Luckily, large disc herniations are  more likely to shrink compared with smaller disc herniations.

Why your disc herniation hurts.

The pain associated with a disc herniation is related to the compression of an adjacent nerve as well as the release of inflammatory chemicals which further irritates the nerve.

Symptoms:

Symptoms can vary widely and can include:
• Pain radiating down the arm or leg
• Pain with leg extension
• Arm or leg weakness
• Arm or leg numbness

If you are experiencing pain or weakness in the arm or leg you could be suffering from a disc herniation. Our expert doctors at Spine & Sports Medicine of New York use expertise in innovative assessments to accurately diagnose the pain associated with a disc herniation. It is difficult to differentiate normal aging from pathological processes so a correct diagnosis is very important.

Other diseases that can mimic a disc herniation include:

• Fracture
• Infection
• Neoplasm
• Stenosis
• Shoulder osteoarthritis
• Hip osteoarthritis
• Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
• Spinal stenosis
• Spondylosis

Our Board-Certified Physicians Can Accurately Diagnose the Source of Your Pain

We conduct a thorough clinical evaluation to determine if the pain is generated from a disc herniation as well as other conditions that share similar symptoms. We begin our evaluation of your problem with a complete medical history using detailed information gathering tools followed by a focused physical examination. We then confirm our diagnosis with specialized tests which may include x-ray, CT, electrodiagnostic (EMG) studies, ultrasonography, or MRI.

“No surgery is needed to relieve pain related to your disc herniation”

Treatments

Treatment will depend on the source of pain which may range from simple medications and physical therapy to complex targeted interventions. For less severe pain a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) and physical therapy may be helpful. For more severe pain, trigger point injections for symptoms of myofascial pain or epidural steroid injections may be more helpful. Long term studies have shown that treatment should be geared to returning you back to your normal functional status as 2 years later there is no difference in the surgery and non-surgical groups.

Here’s what you can expect if one of our pain specialists treats your pain:

• Relief of pain to get you back to living.
• Several treatment options available to target the root of the problem
• May be accompanied by physical therapy to strengthen your core musculature and stretch your muscles
• Body mechanics awareness to eliminate the source of the pain
• Epidural steroid injections may prescribed
• Many patients gain considerable to complete relief with the first or second procedure
• No general anesthesia, surgery or prolonged recovery periods to slow you down from your busy schedule
• Thousands of patients have been helped by our innovative approach to disc herniations.

References

Panagos A. Rehabilitation Medicine Quick Reference-Spine (ed. Buschbacher R.M.)  New York: Demos Publishing; 2010. p. 130-131.
Tarulli AW, Raynor EM. Lumbosacral radiculopathy. Neurol Clin. 2007  May;25(2):387-405.

This sagittal lumbar MRI demonstrates a disc herniation at the  L4-5 level.

This sagittal lumbar MRI demonstrates a disc herniation at the
L4-5 level.

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