By Dr. Gautam Das, Pain Management
Herniated disc, also known as ruptured or slipped disc may take place anywhere in the spine. In most cases, it can occur in the cervical spine or the lumbar spine, which typically leads to a pinched sensation in the nerve. So if you are suffering from pain and numbness in the lower back, arm, neck or arm, you could be suffering from herniated disc.
Symptoms of the herniated disc:
The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary on the basis of the location of the injured disc. Though low back pain along with sciatica are the two most common symptoms of herniated discs, an individual may experience pain in both legs, burning and tingling sensation or numbness in the buttock or foot, pain with certain movements usually forward bending or twisting and weakness in both the legs.
Diagnosis of the herniated discs:
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, it is crucial to visit an expert for thorough clinical assessment which would include a complete medical assessment and analysis of the symptoms. Thus it is symptoms, examination of patients and MRI that make diagnosis. The main goal of treating the herniated disc is to relieve the pain as well as other symptoms that are caused from the ailment. In general, experts suggest beginning with conservative care before considering a surgery.
Helping the herniated discs with proper treatments
In case of cervical or lumbar herniated discs, conservative treatment can be applied for about one or two months in order to reduce the pain or discomfort. When the conservative treatments are found successful in alleviating the pain, the doctor may allow the patient to continue with them. Earlier surgery was considered to be the most suitable option for those patients who don’t find relief in conservative methods of treatment. But nowadays, interventional pain procedures are considered best and surgery can be avoided in most. The conservative treatments generally include the following:
- Physical therapy, working out, gentle stretching for relieving the pressure on the root of the nerves
- Heat and ice therapy for relieving the pain
- Use of non-steroidal pain relieving drugs as prescribed by an expert • Narcotic pain medicines
- Oral steroids for decreasing pain and inflammation
When non-surgical treatments are not found useful even after 6 weeks, it is crucial to consult a pain physician/doctor for Interventional pain management that can be useful in most situations.
The following are interventional procedures that can save a patient from surgery. Any of the following can be chosen depending of type of patient and extent of problem.
- Epidural steroid inj
- Ozone nucleolysis
- Percutaneous discectomy
- Endoscopic discectomy
All these are day care procedures, done under local anesthesia and no stitches. These procedures are becoming very popular nowadays and surgery is avoided in most situations.