When and Why to Visit a Pain Management Clinic for Herniated Disc Pain
Chronic back pain is one of the most common reasons why Americans seek medical care. About 20.4% of adults in Maryland and the rest of the U.S. had chronic pain in 2016, and 8% of them reported having high-impact chronic pain.
If you are among those sufferers, it is time to get the best pain management Maryland.
What is Herniated Disc Pain and What are its Causes?
Herniated or slipped disc is the result of gradual wear and tear. Also called disc degeneration, it occurs with a loss of fluid in the center of a vertebral disc. There will be reduced flexibility and a tear in the outer ring. The soft center pushes through the rupture, causing herniation or disc fragmentation into the spinal canal.
The common reasons for a herniated disc are:
- Repetitive and excessive stress on the lower back
- Severe injuries
- Heavy lifting
- Twisting movements
- General wear and tear
- Effects of aging on the spinal discs
Other factors include long bouts of sitting sessions. Hence, your daily commute to and from work can put extensive pressure on your spinal cord.
Herniated Disc Pain and Symptoms
Most slipped discs are present in the lumbar spine (lower back). However, the cervical spine (neck) is also prone to these issues.
The nerves that surround a herniated disc are irritated and inflamed. The affected areas may feel sore, numb, tingly, or weak. One common symptom is sciatica pain that travels through the buttock to the legs.
But not every back pain may warrant serious condition and immediate medical treatment. Sometimes, you can get relief from this spinal disorder with gentle exercise and OTC medicine.
In Maryland, almost 95% of the estimated cases report herniated discs occurring in the lumbar spine. About 20 out of 1000 adult U.S. patients recorded annually are between the ages of 30 and 50.
Among them, over 85% of cases resolve within 12 weeks without specific treatment. Others may require spine surgery and physical therapy.
Furthermore, some ruptured disc symptoms can lead to potentially permanent and severe nerve complications. This condition results in radiating and debilitating pain.
Herniated Disc Symptoms That You Should Not Ignore
If your symptoms do not lessen even after conservative treatment for several weeks, consult your doctor. Or, perhaps your pain adversely affects your work, or you lose sleep over it. In such cases, do not ignore the situation.
Go to a herniated disc specialist immediately if:
- There is numbness in your lower extremities
- You lose bladder and bowel control
- Muscle weakness (it indicates spinal nerve compression)
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Decreased control over fine motor functions of hands
Besides, without a compressed nerve, you do not feel pain at all. Several patients may not know that they have a herniated disc until it shows up on x-ray images.
Hence, it is necessary to receive the best pain management in Maryland if you live here. Doctors of various specialties treat back pain, but you need one that provides herniated disc pain management.
Moreover, waiting for too long to get the treatment can make matters worse. About 16 million people in America, including Maryland, suffer from lower back pain, while the global count is 57.6 million. As per reports, physical therapy exercises and timely medical care proved efficient in preventing the condition from worsening.
How Visiting a Pain Management Clinic Prevents Herniated Disc Complications
Pain radiating from a herniated disc tampers with your daily activities and impacts the quality of life. Therefore, it is better to seek medical treatment to decrease the risk of long-term nerve damage.
Describe the symptoms to your doctor so that they can understand the cause of the pain. It will help them develop an appropriate treatment plan for your situation. When you visit a pain management clinic, your doctor performs specific tests for an accurate diagnosis.
They may order the following examinations:
X-rays: Plain X-rays cannot detect herniated discs but help the doctor rule out tumors, spinal misalignment, etc.
MRI: MRI shows the exact location of the slipped disc and the compressed nerves.
CT Scan: A CT scan produces cross-sectional images of the spine taken from different directions.
Myelogram: The results show the existence of multiple herniated discs and pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
Other tests include measuring electrical nerve impulses through a Nerve Conduction Study. They also assess the electrical activity of the muscles in contracted and resting-state.
Your Treatment Options
Maryland spine specialists offer a broad spectrum of treatments ranging from the prescription for pain medicines to muscle relaxants. In some instances, they recommend minimally invasive spine surgery or an artificial disc replacement. Non-surgical care involving physical therapy and rehabilitation can also show the desired results for most patients.