A slipped disc, medically known as a herniated disc, can cause sciatic numbness and chronic pain that may compromise your ability to complete your daily tasks. Some people may not experience any symptoms, and conservative treatments may be enough in such cases. An Atlanta herniated disc can make your life miserable, but not under the watch of Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center specialists who prioritize your general health and wellness.
An overview of a herniated disc
Spinal discs consist of soft tissue that separates the vertebrae in the spine. These discs are surrounded by a fibrous outer ring known as an annulus and a gel-like interior known as the nucleus. The damage or deterioration of the annulus causes the displacement of the inner nucleus causing a herniated disc. This disorder can cause extreme pressure on your spinal nerves, resulting in painful symptoms. Herniated discs can develop anywhere on your spine, but they are more prevalent in the lower back and the neck. Some people rarely experience any symptoms, but those who do may get better with time.
Signature symptoms of a herniated disc
The severity of your symptoms relies on the location of the herniated disc; they may worsen with movement and improve with rest. Tell-tale symptoms of a herniated disc include muscle spasm, neck pain, tingling sensation, muscle weakness, and shoulder pain. Muscle weakness may interfere with your ability to lift items and walk without stumbling. Call your doctor immediately if you experience pain that radiates down your leg or arm. Sometimes, you may not be aware that you have a herniated disc until your doctor stumbles upon it in a spinal image.
Diagnostic tools for a herniated disc
During your first appointment, your doctor completes a thorough physical exam to rule out other underlying medical disorders with similar symptoms. During the exam, your physician may evaluate your muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes. The Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center team may also order tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and X-rays to obtain an accurate diagnosis. They may also order an electromyogram to identify the nerve under pressure.
Minimally invasive treatments for a herniated disc
After diagnosis, your provider first recommends a conservative treatment approach. Your treatment plan may involve facet joint injections, aquatic therapy, epidural steroid injections, traction, and physical therapy. If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend a non-surgical approach to relieve your pain and correct the herniated disc. The Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center specialists perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery to minimize the level of scarring and pain and reduce the recovery period.
Complications associated with a herniated disc
In rare cases, disc herniation can compress your entire spinal canal and the nerves. Emergency surgery may be the only option for preventing permanent paralysis or weakness in such patients. If your symptoms worsen over time, inform your doctor immediately. You may need immediate medical care if you also experience bowel or bladder dysfunction or saddle anesthesia.
Call the Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center for comprehensive care or book your spot online.