The discs that provide crucial cushioning along your spine can also cause considerable pain if they herniate, leaving you with limited mobility. The team of specialists at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates has the combined experience necessary to help patients in Daly City, California, overcome the limitations of a herniated disc, helping them get back to moving about freely again. To learn more about addressing your herniated disc, call or request an appointment using the online scheduler.
Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, which are separated by 23 discs. The discs provide cushioning in between your vertebrae and act as shock absorbers, preventing your bones from rubbing together, while also allowing flexibility and movement along your spine.
The outer ring of each disc is made of cartilage called the annulus, which surrounds a gel-like substance called the nucleus. When your disc herniates, part of the nucleus pushes the annulus out into the spinal canal, compressing or irritating the nerves in the area.
The primary sign that you’ve herniated a disc is the pain, which can be local or it can radiate outward. If your herniated disc is in your low back, you typically feel the pain on one side of your lower body, traveling down your buttock and the back of your leg. You may also experience weakness or numbness that also radiates down your leg.
If you herniate a disc in your cervical spine, or neck, you may feel pain, weakness, or numbness in your shoulder and down your arm.
In either case, the pain may be constant or particularly acute during sudden, jarring movements, such as when you sneeze or cough.
Most herniated discs develop as a result of wear and tear, which gradually breaks the tissue down over years of use. Age can also contribute to the problem as the cartilage surrounding your discs begins to naturally lose hydration, leaving them dry and prone to ruptures and tears.
Whether the disc is in your back or in your neck, your doctor at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates usually recommends the following to start:
During this time, you should limit your physical activity to walking, while also avoiding sitting for long periods of time.
If your pain persists, your doctor may recommend an epidural steroid injection to alleviate the nerve irritation. In certain cases, the doctors use injections with chymopapain to dissolve some of the disc.
If a fragment of your disc lodges in your spinal canal and further compresses your spinal cord, your doctor may perform a laminectomy to remove a portion of your vertebral bone.
For comprehensive care of your herniated disc, call Peninsula Orthopedic Associates or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.