4 Signs Of A Herniated Disc: When To Consider Laminectomy
Is Your Back Pain A Herniated Disc?
Anyone experiencing back pain knows how difficult simple tasks can be. The pain can equal lost hours at work, reduced social life, and lots of medical bills. Doctors may trace back pain to a herniated disc. The spine has bones called vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are fibrous discs that help with flexibility and shock absorption. Due to wear and tear, an injury, or arthritis, the discs can bulge or become herniated. These 4 signs can help identify if there is an actual herniated disc.
1. Pain with certain movements
Herniated discs press on nearby nerves, which can cause a burning sensation, tingling, and numbness. Specific movements can trigger the pain, indicating a slipped disc. For instance, persons with a slipped disc feel pain when sitting or standing for long periods. The pain is often on one side and stops with rest. Pay close attention to any sharp pain after these movements and seek medical help.
2. Pain with certain activities
While certain movements cause pain, specific activities can be just as dangerous. Bending over, lifting heavy objects, or strenuous exercise can cause discomfort. Even simple actions like walking short distances, coughing, or sneezing can be painful.
3. Turning into sciatica
Sciatica is a symptom that occurs when the herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest in the body and runs down the back of each leg. Persons with sciatica feel nerve pain in the thigh, leg, and foot. Sciatica can turn into muscle weakness in the leg and can limit movement. More importantly, this can be a sign of a herniated disc.
4. Age plays a factor
With age, discs lose strength and cushioning. This increases the chances of a herniated disc. Some persons never had back pain but suddenly developed the condition later. Statistics show that herniated disc is more common in men between ages 30-50. If the previous 3 signs show up in older persons, there could be a herniated disc.
Should you consider surgery?
A laminectomy may be necessary to help with the herniated disc. A laminectomy, like any spinal surgery, is not for everyone. Persons should consider surgery if non-surgical treatments failed to help with the pain. Medication, physical therapy, nerve ablations, and epidural injections are standard non-surgical treatment options. Furthermore, some persons may notice the pain has moved to the leg, restricting movement. At this point, surgery is essential to relieve pain and restore some movement.
Relieving pain and pressure with laminectomy
Laminectomies relieve pressure and nerve pain. An orthopedic surgeon removes a part of the vertebra called the lamina. The lamina is the bone that forms the back wall of the spine. In the past, a laminectomy was open surgery. Minimally invasive surgery speeds up the procedure and improves healing and effectiveness. The surgeon or anesthesiologist applies a nerve block to the patient. From there, the surgeon can remove the lamina using small surgical tools. Laminectomy should relieve nerve pain and help give patients a better quality of life.
Treat your herniated disc with surgery
Herniated discs place significant pressure on the surrounding nerves. Nerve pain can be excruciating, limiting movement and affecting the quality of life. Surgery via a laminectomy can help. First, look for the signs of a herniated disc and try some conservative treatment options. Then, make sure to discuss the possibility of surgery, especially if treatment fails to improve the condition. For more information about herniated disc treatment, speak with a healthcare provider.
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