If you feel sudden, unexplained pain or numbness in part of your body, the origin might be a herniated disc in your back. The team of board-certified interventional pain management specialists at Athens Spine Center in Athens, Georgia, can use advanced imaging techniques to identify a herniated disc and effective, nonsurgical treatments to relieve your symptoms. For more information about disc degeneration and herniated discs, call Athens Spine Center today.
The discs in your spine serve an essential purpose. They’re round, cartilaginous shock absorbers that sit between each of your vertebrae or spinal bones. They allow you to twist and bend your back without damaging the bones within. Each disc has two parts: a soft inner core called the nucleus and a tough outer layer called the annulus.
A herniated disc happens when the annulus of a spinal disc ruptures or tears, causing a portion of the nucleus to leak out. There is limited space in your spinal canal and plenty of nearby nerves that a herniated disc can affect. If the part of the nucleus that herniates aggravates a nearby nerve, you might feel pain in the area of your body where the nerve goes.
As you age, your discs begin to degenerate and become weaker. Therefore, you’re much more likely to get a herniated disc later in life. A disc might rupture if you make a sudden motion with your back after years of degeneration. Herniated discs are most common in the lower part of your back because of their vital role in supporting your weight and the movements you make using your back.
A herniated disc may or may not cause symptoms. You might get one and never know about it. Even if it doesn’t press on a nerve, you might feel aching in your back near the herniated disc.
If the nucleus presses on a nerve, your symptoms depend on the nerve and where it travels. For example, if the affected nerve travels to your leg, you might experience radiating pain, numbness, or burning through that leg.
If you have symptoms that could indicate a herniated disc, the team at Athens Spine Center can view the disc with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or with a computed tomography (CT) scan.
If you don’t have any symptoms from your herniated disc, treatment isn’t necessary. If you do have symptoms, your course of treatment depends on what they are. To manage your pain, numbness, or other herniated disc symptoms, the team at Athens Spine Center might recommend:
You won’t likely require surgery for a herniated disc. The team at Athens Spine Center treats herniated discs using conservative methods first and monitors you as you navigate treatment.
To find out if a herniated disc is causing your symptoms, book an appointment at Athens Spine Center by phone today.