As you get older, changes in your spine can result in a herniated disc. Damaged vertebral discs can cause chronic pain and limit what you can do physically. To help you retain your mobility, the experienced medical team at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona offers on-site treatment options at their five Arizona offices in Tucson, Oro Valley, and Green Valley. You can also visit Regional Pain Institute in Apache Junction, San Tan Valley, and Gilbert, Arizona, a division of the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona. Find out by calling the office nearest you or booking a consultation online.
The vertebrae in your spine are protected by flexible discs that absorb the shocks of your movements. The discs also make it possible for your spine to bend and twist.
Due to degenerative diseases or the natural changes of aging, discs can wear down and no longer provide adequate protection for the vertebrae. Wear and tear can also force the soft center of the disc through the outer wall, a condition known as a herniated disc.
If the protruding center of the disc presses on the surrounding spinal nerves, you can experience chronic pain that worsens over time.
The symptoms of a herniated disc depend on the location of the affected disc and how much pressure is being put on the nearby nerves.
In most cases, you can experience persistent pain in the area of the herniated disc, such as the neck or lower back. Pain and weakness can also radiate down into your arms or legs, interfering with normal limb function. When a disc herniation presses on the sciatic nerve, you may have pain or shock-like tingling that radiates down through one side of your buttocks and down your leg.
Your symptoms may be the first indication you have a herniated disc. After a review of your medical history and a physical exam, your provider may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, to evaluate the health of your spine and identify damaged discs.
In some cases, a nerve conduction study may be necessary. This test sends electrical impulses along the nerve root to identify areas of nerve compression or damage.
While surgery may be an option for severe pain and nerve damage, the providers at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona offer other conservative treatment options first to keep you comfortable and mobile and out of the surgery room.
Initially, you may benefit from muscle relaxants and oral pain medication or steroids to alleviate pain and relieve inflammation surrounding the nerves. Corticosteroid injections are also a minimally invasive option that delivers anesthetic medications to help with the pain and steroids to decrease inflammation, which helps relieve pressure on the nerves.
Once they relieve the pain of your herniated disc, your physician at Pain Institute of Southern Arizona can recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support your spine and increase your flexibility and range of motion.
If chronic pain in your neck or low back is interfering with your usual routine, find out more about your options for nonsurgical treatment. You can request an appointment online or call the office nearest you for more information.