Your spine has a stack of vertebral bones. The moveable bones are separated and cushioned by vertebral discs, but these discs are susceptible to damage.
In fact, herniated discs are a leading cause of back pain among adults of all ages. They can happen in a sudden injury, but just as often, they develop over time with natural wear and tear.
Also called slipped discs and ruptured discs, herniated discs occur when the soft, gel-like material inside a vertebral disc leaks out. It puts pressure on nearby nerves and causes pain — but you don’t have to live with it.
Aron Rovner, MD, and our team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery specialize in herniated discs. With comprehensive diagnostics and treatment options, we’re committed to healing your herniated disc.
Diagnosing your herniated disc
About 80% of American adults suffer with lower back pain at some point in their lives. While back pain is extremely common, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause and find the right treatment plan.
At New York Spine and Sports Surgery, Dr. Rovner and our team can diagnose what’s causing your discomfort. We begin with a thorough review of your medical history and a physical exam to assess the extent of your condition.
Some common symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Back pain
- Restricted mobility
- Muscle weakness
Herniated discs are most commonly found in the lower back (lumbar spine), but they can happen in the neck too. Where you feel symptoms depends on where your herniated disc is located. For example, a cervical (neck) herniated disc might cause tingling in your arm, while a lumbar herniated disc could cause tingling in your legs.
Your exam might include imaging tests or nerve tests to confirm your diagnosis.No matter which herniated disc treatment option you choose, our team stays in contact with you. We monitor your progress and any lingering symptoms, so we can adjust your treatment plan if needed.
Treatment options for your herniated disc
You don’t have to live with the pain of a herniated disc. If you suffer an injury or you’re diagnosed with a herniated disc, Dr. Rovner and our team can help find the treatment that works best for you.
Nonsurgical treatments for a herniated disc
For minor herniated discs, we often start by recommending at-home care. Resting for a few days and applying hot or cold compresses can calm inflammation and quiet pain. If you still have pain, other nonsurgical treatment options include physical therapy and medication.
Physical therapy facilitates healing by keeping you active and building strength in your back. Your physical therapist develops a personalized exercise plan that may include stretching, strength training, massage, and electrical muscle stimulation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed alone or alongside physical therapy. Dr. Rovner might recommend oral pills or injections, but both help manage pain by reducing inflammation around your herniated disc.
Muscle relaxers can also make a difference for herniated disc pain, because they reduce tension and increase range of motion. In more severe cases, steroid injections may be a good option for you.
Surgery for a herniated disc
Most people find that conservative care is enough to manage their herniated disc pain. But if you’ve tried all the nonsurgical options available and you’re still impacted by pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, it might be time to consider herniated disc surgery.
Dr. Rovner specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, and he carefully selects the best procedure for your unique situation. Cervical disc replacement surgery may be appropriate if your herniated disc is in your neck. If it’s located in your lower back, lumbar fusion could offer lasting pain relief.
In many cases, minimally invasive herniated disc surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. There’s no need to stay overnight in the hospital, and you’re able to recover from surgery in the comfort of your home.
Herniated disc pain can limit your life, but it doesn’t have to. Find healing for your herniated disc at New York Spine and Sports Surgery. Contact us online or call one of our offices in Garden City, New York, or Fair Lawn, New Jersey.