It’s the most common cause of back and neck pain. A herniated disc can happen from an injury, exertion, or over time.
Dr. Dean Lin, a neurosurgeon with Lee Health, says sometimes there are options other than surgery that can help patients manage the pain. “A herniated disc is when part of the disc material that’s in the body that separates the vertebra actually comes out of that area where it normally lives. The problem with that is there are nerves that run right past this area so it ends up pinching a nerve.”
A pinched nerve can cause pain throughout different parts of the body. “A herniated disc, if it happens in the neck, will cause shooting pain down the arm to the fingers. The same with the lower back except it goes down to the leg, typically just one leg,” said Dr. Lin.
In addition to the back or neck pain, a herniated disc can also cause numbness, tingling, even weakness. “If there’s a weakness there then this is something we typically operate on sooner rather than later but if there’s no weakness and we are primarily dealing with a pain issue then we can try to treat this conservatively first,” said Dr. Lin.
Patients experiencing pain can try physical therapy, rest, or medication like epidural injections to manage the pain. Doctors say there are times a herniated disc can repair itself. “But if the pain gets worse and they develop a motor deficit like we talked about then surgery is indicated,” said Dr. Lin.
Doctors say it’s a very common injury that can happen at any age. If you have any of the symptoms check with your doctor about managing the pain.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.