Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do I Have a Herniated Disc?

No one who has ever had a herniated disc would confuse it with a pleasant experience. The pain is outrageous, the disability can stop you dead in your tracks and overall, it can just make you miserable. But back pain comes in many forms, and really, none of them are a picnic. What’s more, treatment for a herniated disc will often diverge from that of other back-related problems. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that it’s important to know what’s wrong with you so you can move forward with the right treatment. So how do you know? What are the signs? I’ll cover that in some small way here; however, it’s important to note that this is in no way intended to be a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. If you are in pain, call us at Living Well Medical. With that said, let’s move on.

If you are familiar enough with the term ‘herniated disc’ chances are you know a little about how the back works, but just in case you don’t, we’ll start there.

Three of the major structures in the spine are the bones, discs and nerves. The bones are the basic support structures, the discs are the shock absorbers and the nerves carry messages and information throughout the body, to and from the brain. In a herniated disc, one of these shock absorbers can’t perform its function because it has burst open and spilled the contents of its nucleus which provides much of the shock reduction. Sometimes, that herniated material will push against the nerves. That in turn can cause a number of severe symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and burning sensations. So if you are experiencing problems in the lower back or legs like these, you may have a disc herniation.

That said, the only 100% accurate way to know if you have a herniated disc is through medical imaging like an MRI. X-ray studies can also help rule out other serious spinal conditions like spondylolisthesis, but that's for another post entirely. Nerve tests like electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies are also able to point out nerve irregularities. The main point is that only a doctor can tell you what the situation is.

If you are in pain, call our NYC office us at 212-645-8151. We can and enjoy helping people like you reclaim your life from pain like a herniated disc.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor

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