If one of the discs cushioning your vertebrae gives way and starts to press on the nerves in your spinal cord, the pain can be excruciating. If you have a herniated disc or severe back pain, Shamsideen Musa, MD, of Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, can help. Dr. Musa is a board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain specialist who has considerable expertise in treating patients with herniated discs. Call Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
A herniated disc is a condition that occurs when the discs that sit between your vertebrae suffer damage that leads to pressure on nearby nerves and other tissues. The discs in your spine act as a cushion between each vertebra, preventing injury and helping you move freely.
Discs have a soft inside and a tougher outer skin. If the outer surface of the disc weakens or tears, the soft interior can push through the hole, causing a herniated disc. Pressure on the nerves causes back pain and can affect your legs or arms.
There are two ways you can get a herniated disc. The first is to damage your back, for example by lifting something heavy using unsafe techniques. The second is to develop weaknesses in the outer skin of the disc as you age.
Degenerative disc disease results from the discs losing some of their water content, meaning they dry out and get thinner. The outer skin of the disc weakens until one of the weak spots tears and lets the internal tissues bulge through.
Herniated discs are a common form of back pain and can occur anywhere on your spine. The lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine) are more prone to herniated discs than the upper back (cervical spine).
Symptoms of a herniated disc vary between causing little, if any, pain to being severely painful and disabling. The severity of your pain and any other symptoms depends on which disc has the hernia and how badly it’s herniated.
A herniated disc can also cause sensory symptoms, including:
A herniated disc in your lower back can affect your buttocks, legs, or feet. A herniated disc in your neck can affect your shoulders, arms, or hands.
The treatment Dr. Musa recommends for a herniated disc typically starts with conservative and noninvasive therapies, such as:
Most patients with a herniated disc find their symptoms decrease using these initial approaches. However, some patients don’t experience much improvement, in which case surgery might be an option.
Dr. Musa can discuss the most appropriate surgical procedure for your herniated disc, which could involve minimally invasive microdiscectomy to remove the affected disc. Dr. Musa can either fuse the vertebrae after removing the disc or put in an artificial replacement disc.
To find relief from the pain of a herniated disc, call Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic today or book an appointment online.