Herniated Discs: When to Seek Help from Gramercy Pain Center
Home remedies may be initially done to alleviate the symptom of herniated discs. These include the following:
- Rest for at most 3 days to relieve the pain but don’t prolong the period of rest to avoid experiencing stiffness.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen.
- Apply heat packs or cold compresses to the area that needs addressing.
However, if the herniated disc pain becomes so unbearable and you can no longer do your usual activities, you must not hesitate to contact our herniated discs doctor immediately. Other reasons related to suspected herniated discs that warrant visiting our spine specialist include the following:
- If the herniated disc symptoms don’t go away even after 4 to 6 weeks, making the pain a chronic one;
- Symptoms become so severe that they’re already debilitating;
- You can no longer control how you urinate or pass stools;
- There are noticeable weakness, tingling, or numbness of your arms, hands, legs, or feet;
- You can no longer stand or walk.
When to Suspect that You Might Be Suffering from Herniated Discs
A herniated disc or “slipped disc” occurs when a part or whole of the nucleus pulposus, the inner part of the intervertebral disc that serves as a cushion in between the vertebrae to prevent friction, bulges out of the annulus fibrosus, the outer part of the intervertebral disc.
This disorder occurs in 5 to 20 in 1000 adults within the 3rd or 5th decade of life, with the most common being the lumbar disc herniation. Most cases of the slipped disc don’t have symptoms and aren’t found out until an MRI is done.
However, in cases that it presents with symptoms, you may suspect that you might be suffering from disc herniation if you have back pain that doesn’t go away and one part of the body that’s affected by the slipped disc compressing a spinal nerve manifests with symptoms like arm or leg pain, and weakness, numbness, or tingling of the arms or legs.
How We Can Help Manage Your Herniated Discs at Gramercy Pain Center
At Gramercy Pain Center, we first evaluate the source of your pain before we suggest a suitable treatment plan for its underlying cause. We may do a comprehensive history taking and careful neurological examination (e.g., straight leg raise test and contralateral straight leg raise test) to localize where the nerve compression is.
Aside from that, we may also order further tests especially if non-surgical treatments don’t work or the neurological examination has abnormal results. These tests include:
- CT Scan
- Nerve conduction study
- Electromyography (EMG)
At Gramercy Pain Center, we may prescribe neuropathic drugs like gabapentin and pregabalin or muscle relaxers to help ease the back pain due to a bulging disc.
If this doesn’t work, we may also advise giving you an epidural or nerve block, which are cortisone injections around the area of the spinal nerves and spinal cord affected, guided with spinal imaging to help accurately direct the needle.
We may also offer radiofrequency ablative techniques as well, where radiofrequency energy is delivered to the spinal nerves and prevent them from sending pain signals to the brain.
We may also suggest physical therapy and home exercises guided by our pain management specialists Ajay Varma, MD, DABA, DABAPM, and Ali Valimahomed, MD, to help you gain more flexibility and strength in your back. The sessions will also teach you how to properly position yourself to minimize the pain caused by slipped discs.
Gramercy Pain Center only offers minimally invasive herniated disc treatment and physical therapy to help manage the symptoms of your pain conferred by a slipped disc. However, we may also suggest herniated disc surgery from a trusted orthopedic spine surgeon if your symptoms don’t improve after 6 weeks of the treatment plan. These include spinal decompression surgeries like the following:
- Diskectomy where the damaged disc is removed;
- Laminectomy that aims to expand the spinal canal by removing a part of the spinal vertebra surrounding the herniated disc;
- Artificial disk surgery where an artificial disc replaces the damaged disc; and
- Spinal fusion that aims to stabilize the spine by fusing 2 vertebrae together.
FAQs About Herniated Discs and Management
Q: What’s the prognosis for herniated disc patients?
A: A herniated disc injury goes away on its own 90% of time, 6 weeks after the injury. Some individuals may need more aggressive measures and may need surgery, which can make healing faster and with a comparable result with more conservative methods of management.
Q: Will my herniated disc get worse?
A: A herniated disc gets worse if it remains untreated, especially when you endure the pain and continue doing the things that exacerbate the condition. Although rare, herniated discs may progress into a ruptured disc, leading to more chronic pain or complete loss of nerve function due to severe nerve root compression. Rare complications in a herniated disc surgery have also been mentioned in some studies, such as paralysis and death.
Q: Are there lifestyle changes that I should follow in association with herniated discs?
A: To prevent herniated discs from occurring or from worsening, lifestyle changes may be followed to reduce the risk of its development. Recommendable lifestyle modifications to follow include:
- Lifting heavy objects properly, in that the abdominal and leg muscles are the ones used to support the load and not the back. Bending the waist should also be avoided and the knees should be the ones bent as well.
- Keeping your weight within a normal, healthy range, to reduce any excessive stress to be exerted in the back.
- Avoiding slouching, because good posture reduces extra stress exerted on the back.
- Stretching, especially when you’re sitting for a prolonged period of time. This helps maintain your flexibility and strengthen your back muscles that can help support your spine.
- Avoiding wearing heels as this may misalign your spine.
- Exercising regularly to strengthen your back and stomach muscles for adequate spinal support.
- Quitting smoking since tobacco products may contribute to the weakening of the discs.
Q: Are there complementary and alternative medicine procedures that I can try for my herniated disc?
A: With the guidance from your doctor, you may consider alternative and complementary treatments to help relieve the chronic back pain associated with herniated discs. These include chiropractic procedures, acupuncture, and massage.
Get the Best Symptomatic Relief from the Care of Experts in Gramercy Pain Center
You don’t have to endure the back pain associated with herniated discs forever. At Gramercy Pain Center, we’re here to help you go back to your normal activities through our expert pain management plan that includes physical therapy and minimally-invasive treatments, guided by our pain specialists Ajay Varma, MD, DABA, DABAPM, and Ali Valimahomed, MD. Contact us today and visit our pain clinic near you to achieve a pain-free life again.
Dr. Valimahomed really cares and is very proactive in reducing pain! I am thrilled!
Dr. Varma is a tough cookie, very stern but listens to me and cares about my well being.
Dr. Varma is a great caring person and doctor.
Great doctor, very attentive.
Wonderful experience with Dr. V!
We're Actively Treating Herniated Discs Near the Following Service Areas:
- Shrewsbury, NJ
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- Middletown, NJ
- Hoboken, NJ
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- Greenville, NJ
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