Most people think they don’t need to worry about herniated discs until they get older. But this painful problem often makes its first appearance between the ages of 35-55. At Pinnacle Pain and Spine, Matthew Crooks, MD, Jessica Byrd, FNP-C, AP-PMN, and Emma Dambi, FNP-C, provide comprehensive care for herniated discs, helping you get long-lasting pain relief with a range of effective treatment options. If you need help with back or neck pain, call one of the offices in Scottsdale, Chandler, or Fountain Hills, Arizona, or book an appointment online today.
The discs between each of the spinal vertebrae are made of a tough outer cover that encloses a gel-like substance in the center. This special design allows the discs to absorb shock and support spinal movement.
Over the years, the cover dehydrates and degenerates. These changes cause weakened areas in the cover.
The inner gel pushes through a weak spot, causing a bulging disc. When the outer cover ruptures, the gel spills out. That’s when you have a herniated disc.
In addition to age-related disc degeneration, being overweight, lack of regular exercise, a traumatic injury, and lifting heavy objects the wrong way can all contribute to a herniated disc.
A bulging disc can push into the nerves and escaping gel irritates the nerves. In both cases, the nerves become inflamed and you develop neck or back pain.
Damaged nerves also cause symptoms like pain and tingling that radiate along the nerve. If your herniated disc is in your neck, the symptoms may travel down your arms. If the herniated disc is in your lower back, the pain often travels down your legs.
A herniated disc is one of the top causes of sciatica, which occurs when a pinched sciatic nerve causes excruciating pain radiating down one leg.
At Pinnacle Pain and Spine, Dr. Crooks reviews your medical history and symptoms, completes a physical exam, and may order diagnostic testing.
You may need a CT scan, X-rays, or an MRI to verify your diagnosis. You may also need an electromyogram to assess electrical activity in the nerves and muscles.
Dr. Crooks creates a customized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms. Your treatment may include any of the following:
If conservative therapies don’t provide enough pain relief, you may want to consider surgery. Techniques such as a discectomy to remove the disc, followed by replacing it with an artificial disc or a spinal fusion, can often be done as minimally invasive procedures.
If you have neck or back pain along with neurological symptoms like tingling in your arms or legs, call Pinnacle Pain and Spine or schedule an appointment online today.