Herniated Disc

herniated disc - south florida orthoA herniated disc is a condition caused by a damaged disc in the spine that is placing pressure to the surrounding nerves. These discs separate the vertebrae, the small bones that make up the spine, to prevent bone-to-bone rubbing and to stabilize the structure of spine. When the outer, fibrous portion of the disc is weakened and loses elasticity, the inner jelly-like center of the disc pushes through the outer layer and presses on the nerve root, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Your doctor at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will be able to diagnose and treat the symptoms of a herniated disc. Both conservative and surgical treatment options are successful at treated this condition.

A herniated disc is a common result of degenerative disc disease, which is age-related wear and tear of the discs occurring overtime.

In some cases, patients experience pain, trouble moving the spine and numbness in the arms or legs. The pressure placed on the nerve root may cause muscles spasms or shooting pain.

A majority of patients experience significant pain relief and restored mobility following treatment for a herniated disc.

Herniated Disc Treatment Methods

Both surgical and nonsurgical methods are successful at treating a herniated disc and creating a healing environment in the spine to repair the disc and nerve roots.

Your surgeon will begin using nonsurgical treatments to alleviate pain and pressure in the spine. Anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy or steroid injections may be used to allow the disc to heal and relieve pressure from the nerve roots. In a majority of cases, nonsurgical options are extremely effective at treating a herniated disc. If conservative methods are unsuccessful, surgical options will be proposed.

Depending on the severity of the herniated disc, there are several different surgical options that may be used. A discectomy or a microdiscectomy are minimally invasive procedures used to removed the damaged, protruding portion of the disc to relieve pressure from the nerve root. In some, rare cases the disc may need to be removed entirely requiring a lumbar fusion or a cervical fusion. You surgeon will discuss all surgical options and help determine the best course of action based on your condition.

Results and Recovery

Following treatment for a herniated disc, recovery time can vary greatly depending on specific conditions. The severity and location of the herniated disc and the damage to the surrounding nerves may lengthen the healing process.

When nonsurgical options are successful, recovery time may last four to six weeks. In some cases, your physical therapist may recommend flexibility exercises to be used for two to four months. When surgery is required, the length of recovery is dependent on the type of procedure.

A majority of patients experience a significant reduction in pain or pressure and a return to normal, everyday activities.


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