Herniated discs is a back bone condition where the spongy discs working as shock absorbers between the vertebrae (individual bones responsible for stacking up the spine) break or rupture out. These spinal discs consist of soft jelly like center that is surrounded by a tough outer casing. When a herniated disc occurs the soft inner core of the discs bulges or ruptures out through a crack in the outer casing. Herniated disc is also known as ruptured disc or bulging disc.

When the herniated disc starts pinching the nerve roots exiting the spinal cord, the patient suffers from numbness, weakness as well pain in the arm or leg.

Herniated Discs

Diagnosing a herniated disc

A back specialist usually starts the diagnostic procedure with a physical examination to check your back for tenderness. He may also perform a neurological exam. Sometimes the doctor may order imaging tests in case he suspects another problem or wants to confirm the nerves that are affected. These imaging tests are:

  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Myelogram
  • Electromyograms

Treatment options for a herniated disc

Non-surgical Treatments

These are one of the most common treatment methods used by doctors and include:

Prescription medications– Doctors usually prescribe these medications when the over the counter medications fail to provide any relief to patients. These include narcotics like codeine or oxycodone-acetaminophen.

Cortisone injections – These injections suppress inflammation are usually injected in the affected area directly.

Physical Therapy – Can include- heat and ice therapy, electrical stimulation, bracing, ultrasound and traction

 Surgical treatment

This treatment option is considered rarely and is only taken up when conservative treatment fail to provide any relief to the patient. The most common surgery for herniated disc is discectomy where the protruding portion of the disc is removed.

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