A slipped disc is when a soft cushion of tissues between the bones in your spine pushes out. It is painful if it ends up pressing on your nerves. A slipped disc can cause lower back pain, numbness or tingling in one’s shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs, or feet, neck pain, trouble bending or in the straightening of your neck, muscle weakness, and pain in the buttocks. Although, not all slipped discs cause symptoms, and sometimes, people might not even know if they have a slipped disc. A single excessive strain or injury has the potential of causing a slipped disc. Although, disc material naturally ends up degenerating over time, and the ligaments that hold it in place begin to weaken. As time goes on, a minor twist or fracture can also cause a disc to rupture. Certain people are also more vulnerable to slipped discs, and thus, might suffer from slipped discs in several places along the spine.
Majority of slipped discs do not require surgery, however, a small fraction of people with slipped discs might experience severe low back pain significantly affecting their daily life. The initial treatment for a slipped disc is usually non-surgical. Bed rest might be prescribed, or the patient might be advised to conduct little to no activity.
A herniated disc is frequently treated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication if the pain is mild. An epidural steroid injection might be performed utilizing a spinal needle under X-ray guidance to direct the medication to the exact level of the disc herniation.
A surgery might take place if more conservative medical options are not effective. The following surgeries might be considered:
Lumbar laminotomy is a procedure for the relief of leg pain and sciatica caused by a herniated disc. It is performed through an incision down the center of the back over the area of the herniated disc. During this procedure, a fraction of the lamina might end up being removed Once the incision is made through the skin, the muscles are moved to the side in order for the surgeon to be able to see the back of the vertebrae. A small opening is made between the two vertebrae to gain access to the herniated disc. After the disc is removed through a discectomy, the spine might need to get stabilized.
In an artificial disc surgery, an incision is made through the abdomen, and the affected disc is then removed and replaced. Only a small percentage of patients are eligible for artificial disc surgery. The patient must have undergone at least six months of treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication or wearing a back brace, without having shown any signs of improvement. The patient should also be in overall good health with zero signs of infection, osteoporosis or arthritis. If there is degeneration which is affecting more than one disc or leg pain, the patient is not a candidate for this surgery.
Cervical Spine Surgery: The medical decision to perform the operation from the front of the neck or the back of the neck is influenced by the location of the herniated disc, along with the experience and preference of the surgeon. A portion of the lamina might be removed through a laminotomy, followed by a discectomy. Once the disc is removed, the spine usually needs to be stabilized. This is done through the use of cervical plate and screws and commonly, spinal fusion.
The doctor will usually prescribe pain medication and give specific instructions once the surgery has been completed. The doctor will help the patient in deciding when he/she can go back to normal life, and continue with physical activities such as driving. Some patients might benefit from rehabilitation and physical therapy after the surgery. Discomfort is expected, however, if the pain is too much, the patient should slow down and focus on their recovery.
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