Dr. Nuwer provides pain management treatment to patients who suffer from pain caused by herniated discs. Patients can visit her in her office at the Bay Health Center in Palo Alto, CA.
Herniated Disc Q & A
What is a herniated disc?
A disc becomes herniated when the outer layer of a spinal disc is damaged causing the internal gel to bulge or leak out of the disc. This bulge, or herniation, puts pressure on the nerve root and can cause pain. Herniated discs are most commonly found in the lower lumbar region but can occur anywhere in the spine. Herniated discs can cause pain in the legs or arms, numbness or tingling, and weakness in the muscles. Some herniated discs can show no signs only to show up in a scan of the spine later on.
What causes a herniated disc?
The cause of herniated discs can not always be pinpointed. But a common cause of disc herniation can be related to the wear and tear. This disc degeneration occurs gradually and causes discs to lose some of their water content making them less flexible and more prone to damage. Herniated discs can be caused by lifting heavy objects with improper form or twisting sharply. Other factors that can increase your risk of a herniation are excess body weight which causes stress on the low back or an inherited genetic disorder.
What treatments are available?
Herniated discs can be treated some ways. Treatment may start conservatively with ice and heat, medications, massage, or electrical stimulation of the muscle. Treatment for herniated discs will begin with an evaluation of the pain and will be followed by the development of a treatment plan for the specific condition. This may include spinal manipulation, spinal decompression, physiotherapy, Interferential electrical muscle stimulation, micro-amperage neural stimulation, mechanical traction and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. The doctor may also advise a course of corrective exercises to strengthen the musculature around the herniated disc. These exercises are designed to help reduce pain but may also help to prevent the pain from coming back.