Herniated Discs Can Be a Pain in the Back

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A herniated disc is the rupture of a spinal disc, which is the soft cushion that sits between each vertebrae of the spine. When the disc ruptures, a small part of the spinal disc is pushed outside its normal boundary, and the spinal nerves and spinal cord may become pinched. The spine surgeons at Coastal Orthopedics typically suggest conservative (or nonsurgical) treatment initially, but if the symptoms persist, more aggressive treatments are recommended.

Conservative treatments for herniated discs usually consist of the following options:

Activity Modification
If you have a herniated disc, you should rest and avoid strenuous activities. Herniated discs may restore themselves if given time.

Ice and Heat Applications
Applying ice and heat can be very helpful in relieving pain because the hot and cold temperatures relax the muscles of the back.

Physical Therapy
“A good physical therapy program will help strengthen the lumbar muscles in your back, giving you added support and a reduction in pain,” says Dr. Erin Watson, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Coastal Orthopedics.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Spine specialists can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve the pain from a herniated disc. These medications can relieve some of the pressure on the compressed nerves and should be used under supervision.

Epidural Steroid Injections
Injections of cortisone directly into the area of the nerve compression can also be administered. Injections will relieve the pressure on the nerve.

Should conservative treatments not prove effective, surgical techniques will be considered. The goal of surgery is to decrease pain and give the patient normal mobility. Recovery from a herniated disc surgery can take anywhere from four to six weeks.

If you’re suffering from back pain and would like to see an expert, call the specialty-trained spine doctors at Coastal Orthopedics at (843) 484-0976.