If you’re experiencing neck or lower back pain, it could be due to a herniated disc in your spine. Herniated discs affect millions of people every year and are one of the most common reasons patients are referred to New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. If you have a herniated disc and haven’t found relief from physical therapy, epidural or steroid shots or pain management methods, make an appointment to get the care you deserve.
Understanding Herniated Discs
Between each vertebra is something called a spinal disc. These discs have soft, jelly-like centers that allow them to cushion the spine and hold the vertebrae together. However, if the disc becomes cracked or torn, the center can bulge out and leave your spine without the cushion it needs. This puts pressure on the spinal cord and the sensitive nerves there.
This excess pressure can cause spinal cord compression, such as radiculopathy or myelopathy, and lead to numbness or weakness or pain in the legs, arms and/or back. Herniated discs typically affect the neck and lower back regions, but they can occur anywhere along the spine. While most cases are caused by natural degeneration, other factors can contribute, including:
- Excess body weight
- Repetitive activity
- Incorrect lifting habits
Diagnosing and Treating Herniated Discs
To diagnose a herniated disc, board certified spine surgeon Dr. LaRocca at NJNBI will conduct a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and medical history followed by a physical exam. He may also recommend an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to get a better look at your spine. If the herniated disc doesn’t resolve on its own and you’ve exhausted other treatment options, there’s no need to lose hope – Dr. LaRocca can provide surgical solutions that may resolve your condition where other treatments failed.
Surgery is a good option for patients who have a severe herniated disc. Sometimes, the symptoms and chronic pain won’t go away until the physical structure has been surgically altered. With all your medical information in hand, Dr. LaRocca will be able to develop a personalized surgical treatment plan to suit your individual needs. Some common surgical procedures include a minimally invasive microdiscectomy and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. No matter which procedure is required, you will receive compassionate, individualized treatment and the education you need to understand your condition and the surgery required to correct it.
In most cases, disc herniation surgeries are simple, straightforward and use very small incisions to make recovery time faster. Most patients have excellent outcomes and are able to enjoy a better quality of life afterwards. Some patients are able to return home the same day or the next day with medication to help manage their pain. Before leaving, a physical therapist comes in to assist you out of bed. There may be some restrictions, such as no heavy lifting, while your body gradually heals, as well as a physical therapy plan to aid in your recovery. It’s recommended to take several days off from work.
The team at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. has extensive experience in treating herniated discs and a number of other common neck and back conditions. If you’ve been diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy or neurological problems, or are experiencing foot drop, pain in your extremities or other issues, call 609-896-0020 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.