Herniated Disc Specialist
Maiden Lane Medical
Multi-Specialty Group Practice located in New York, NY
Do you have sudden, sharp back pain that also causes arm or leg pain and instantly stops you in your tracks? If so, you may be among the many who have excruciating herniated disc pain. Fortunately, there are non-surgical treatment options available, including physical therapy, to relieve pain.
At Maiden Lane Medical located in New York City, Jennifer Zocca, MD specializes in pain management. She has assisted many to heal and return to living a life without painful restrictions—even those caused by a herniated disc. Call or schedule your personalized consultation appointment online today!
What Are Herniated Discs?
Herniated discs are common spinal conditions that occur in the lower back region (lumbar spine) or neck, causing neck, back, or leg pain. A herniated lumbar disc is the most common.
Your spinal column is made up of vertebrae, also known as spinal bones. You have intervertebral discs or small sacs that lie between each vertebra. These intervertebral discs are typically filled with a gel-like substance. They act as shock absorbers and provide cushion for your spinal bones, taking pressure off your spine while you perform certain movements.
When a portion of one of these discs protrudes into your spinal canal, it is called a herniated disc. Since your spinal canal has limited space, it is common for a disc to pinch a spinal nerve. This displacement puts pressure on the spinal nerves, resulting in chronic or acute pain. This condition can also put pressure on your spinal cord and nerve roots.
What Causes Disc Herniation?
Disc herniation can be caused by:
- Gradual changes in your spine as you age that result in your disc losing its fluid content. This is known as degenerative disc disease.
- Poor posture
- Repetitive motion
- Trauma from a car accident
- Excess stress being put on your spine due to being overweight
- Sudden strain from not using the proper lifting techniques
- Using improper form when twisting
- Being predisposed to this condition due to genetics
Herniated Discs Symptoms
Symptoms of herniated discs will vary depending on the location of the herniation. If the disc is not putting pressure on a nerve root, you may not have any symptoms.
If you have a herniated disc in your lower back (herniated lumbar disc), you may experience the following:
- Sudden, sharp back pain that shoots down one side of your buttocks and radiates into your leg (called sciatica). This back pain can be linked with numbness and tingling, and often produces a burning sensation
- Pain that tends to be worse at night
- Muscle weakness
If you have a herniated disc in your neck (herniated cervical disc), you may experience:
- Pain that radiates down into your shoulder or down into your arm, hand, and fingers
- Numbness in your hands
- Weakness in your hands
You may find the pain intensifies with movement and improves after rest. Some people find that moving their arms or legs into a certain position temporarily relieves the pain. If you notice that your pain is increasing, or you are having difficulty with bowel or bladder control, seek medical assistance immediately.
Who Are at Risk of Developing Herniated Discs?
You may also be at risk of developing a herniated disc if you:
- Are between the ages of 30 and 50
- Are a male (This condition affects men twice as much as it does women)
- Sit in the same position for extended periods of time
- Repetitively use a twisting or bending motion to accomplish tasks
- Lift heavy objects
- Are overweight
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How Are Herniated Discs Diagnosed?
To make an accurate diagnosis, your specialist will review your complete medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order the following test to get a diagnostic view of your spinal cord:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan
- Electromyogram and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG/NCS):
How Are Herniated Discs Treated?
There are a variety of effective treatment options for relieving the pain caused by herniated discs. Your treatment may vary depending on the severity of your condition.
Dr. Zocca works closely with other Maiden Lane Medical team members to create a customized treatment plan that addresses your pain and resolves the structural issues of a herniated disc. Some of the most common treatment methods for herniated discs include:
- Pain medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or an epidural steroid injection to reduce spinal nerve inflammation and swelling.
- Lifestyle modifications: Dietary changes, herbal supplements, or at-home exercises to promote healing.
- Physical therapy: To relieve pressure on the affected spinal nerves and allow your disc the opportunity to reposition itself into its normal position. Physical therapy will also help improve your range of motion.
If you long for relief and would like to have your symptoms assessed by an expert pain management team, contact Maiden Lane Medical today. Call our office in Manhattan, NY, or book a consultation online to get started on your road to recovery!
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