Herniated discs often cause long-term back and neck pain, making it impossible to lead a normal life. If your disc problems stop you from working or enjoying yourself, board-certified neurosurgeon Beejal Amin, MD, FAANS, can help. Dr. Amin has offices in Oak Lawn, South Holland, and Orland Park, Illinois. He can advise you on the most effective treatments, including advanced spine surgery. Call Beejal Y. Amin MD today or book an appointment online to benefit from expert treatment of herniated discs.
Disc herniation happens when the discs that sit between the vertebrae (bones) in your spine rupture. Discs cushion and stabilize your spine, absorbing shock and protecting the bones from wear-and-tear. They have a soft jellylike core surrounded by a tough outer shell.
If the outer shell weakens or tears, the disc’s inner material can squeeze through into your spinal canal. This material can press on the nerves in your spinal canal, causing back or neck pain.
The pain can spread down your arms if you have a herniated disc in your neck or down your legs if the herniated disc is in your lower back. You might also experience weakness, numbness, or tingling sensations.
Herniated discs can be an acute injury (happen suddenly) if you suffer a severe trauma like an auto accident. But more often, they’re caused by degenerative disc disease. This condition develops as you age. The discs, which start off soft with a high water content, gradually dry out and weaken. They flatten out and are more likely to tear.
Even relatively mild exertion or twisting can then damage a degenerated disc. The disc often bulges against a weak area in the outer shell first, causing ongoing back or neck pain. If the shell splits, the disc herniates.
Dr. Amin is likely to begin with the least invasive treatments. Rest and gentle exercise, avoiding activities that aggravate the condition, and physical therapy are effective treatments. Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants help manage your symptoms.
If these treatments don’t relieve your herniated disc symptoms, epidural steroid injections might help. They contain powerful anti-inflammatory medication that gets to the root of your pain. If you’re still not improving, Dr. Amin might suggest surgery.
Dr. Amin offers several surgeries for herniated discs, including:
Using minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), Dr. Amin removes the damaged part of the herniated disc, leaving the healthy part in place. This surgery relieves pressure on the spinal nerve root.
This surgery involves removing the entire disc including the herniated portion. Dr. Amin puts a bone graft in the space that encourages the vertebrae on either side to fuse, stabilizing your spine.
Disc replacement also involves removing the entire disc including the herniated portion. But instead of fusing the vertebrae, Dr. Amin implants an artificial disc. Among the advantages of artificial disc replacement is that you end up with better spinal flexibility than spinal fusion offers.
Call Beejal Y. Amin MD today or book an appointment online to get expert relief from your herniated disc symptoms.