Herniated discs most often occur in people 30-50 years old, and when the problem goes untreated, it causes 90% of all cases of sciatica. At Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center, you receive the full scope of treatment for herniated discs, from non-surgical medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation to minimally invasive spine surgery when needed. If you have ongoing back or neck pain, or pain in your arms or legs, call the office in Homer Glen or Woodridge, Illinois, or request an appointment online today.
The spinal discs between vertebrae have two layers, an inner gel-like core enclosed in a strong outer cover. Herniated discs occur when the outer cover develops a weak area that turns into a tear or crack.
Pressure from spinal movement pushes the inner gel through the weakened area. Eventually, that area tears, and the gel leaks out. That's when you have a herniated disc.
Though a traumatic injury may cause a herniated disc, the problem usually develops gradually as the outer cover loses moisture, hardens, and breaks down from daily wear and tear.
Herniated discs most often affect your lower back (lumbar spine), but they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine). You experience pain in your neck or back when the herniated disc pushes against nerves, or the leaking gel irritates them.
Compressed nerves also cause pain and tingling that travel down your arm or leg, depending on whether the herniated disc is in your neck or lower back, respectively.
Sciatica, pain that suddenly shoots through your buttock and down one leg, is one of the most common problems caused by herniated discs. Nerve damage may also cause numbness and muscle weakness in your arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center begins with non-surgical treatments such as limiting your activity, physical therapy, and medications to relax muscles and reduce inflammation.
With conservative care, your herniated disc may heal on its own. But if your symptoms don't improve or get worse, your provider talks with you about having a discectomy, a minimally invasive procedure to remove the disc.
To perform a discectomy, your provider makes a small incision and carefully pushes the underlying tissues aside without cutting them. For example, in your lower back, they guide a tubular dilator between the tissues to create a small opening, then use an endoscope or surgical microscope to view the spine and perform your surgery.
After removing the damaged disc, your provider restores your spinal strength and stability with one of two techniques. They may insert an artificial disc or place a bone graft between the vertebrae. The graft helps the two bones fuse together by promoting new bone growth.
If you have ongoing back or neck pain from a herniated disc, call Illinois Spine and Scoliosis Center or book an appointment online today.