Warning Signs of a Herniated Disc

Your spine works hard to keep you physically active, flexible, and upright. When the structures in your spine begin to wear down as you age or because of an injury, you might be susceptible to painful injuries like a herniated disc.

At New Tampa Interventional Pain & Sports Medicine, experienced pain specialist Jose De La Torre has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a herniated disc and its symptoms.

Dr. De La Torre recommends that you keep an eye out for the warning signs of a herniated disc, so you can get the treatment you need before your condition worsens.

Causes of a herniated disc

Within your spine are protective discs that sit between your vertebrae. These rubbery discs absorb the shocks of your movements and prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together.

Your spinal discs have a tough outer layer and a gel-like center. When too much pressure is put on a disc, the outer shell can rupture and force the soft inner center outward. This disc material can press on nearby nerves, causing a variety of symptoms that interfere with your quality of life and your mobility.

Pressure on the disc can come from an injury to your spine that occurs during a fall or participation in sports. You might also be prone to disc herniation because of age-related changes in the disc that cause the outer layer to break down prematurely.

Many people develop a herniated disc because of overuse injuries to the spine. These injuries develop when you frequently make bending or twisting movements required of your job, an exercise program, or your favorite sport.

Signs you might have a herniated disc

It’s possible to have a herniated disc without having any symptoms. However, as more of the disc material presses on surrounding nerves, you might begin to experience back or neck pain in the area of your spine where the disc sits.

Other warning signs of a herniated disc include:

Sudden movements like a cough or sneeze can also cause jolting pain that radiates from your spine down into your hips and legs, a condition known as sciatica.

Your treatment options for a herniated disc

When treating a herniated disc, Dr. De La Torre focuses on quickly relieving your pain and other symptoms and restoring your spine’s full mobility. He may recommend:

Medications

Initially, you might benefit from over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve pain. Dr. De La Torre might also prescribe anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation around the affected nerves of your spine.

Epidural steroid injections

When oral medications aren’t enough to control your herniated disc pain, you might need epidural steroid injections. Dr. De La Torre can inject the medications directly into the epidural space of your spine to provide long-term relief of pain.

Alternative therapies

Alternative therapies like massage, chiropractic adjustments, and physical therapy can help ease pain. These therapies also help you exercise, so you can strengthen your spine’s health and reduce your risk for additional spine pain.

Surgery

As a last-resort treatment for herniated disc pain, Dr. De La Torre may refer you for surgery to remove part or all of the damaged disc. Surgery is typically only a recommendation when you can no longer walk because of pain or if you’re experiencing changes in your bowel or bladder control.

If you’re already experiencing warning signs of a herniated disc, schedule a diagnostic evaluation at New Tampa Interventional Pain & Sports Medicine online or by phone today.

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