Many of our patients are afflicted by what is colloquially known as a “slipped disc”. Most often this is from gradual degeneration of the discs over time. However, this can also be from an acute injury, usually a lifting injury. We have even seen something as simple as a sneeze cause this! A lumbar disc herniation can result in severe back and leg pain. It can also cause numbness and weakness of the lower extremities.
A disc is a cushion that sits in between the bones, or vertebrae, of the spine. These cushions are what allow your spine to have movement. Dr. Mesiwala will often say, “A square on top of a square will not have any movement”, therefore the disc plays a vital role in our everyday motion. Discs consist of a tough outer ligamentous annulus with a soft toothpaste-like center. A herniated disc is when this soft center protrudes through a tear in the annulus.
80% of disc herniations will improve on their own over time. Your body can break down the misplaced disc contents and eventually, the pain will dissipate. Depending on the severity of nerve irritation, some individuals will require interventional pain injections to help them manage while recovering. However, the other 20% will end up requiring surgical intervention.
We completed a laminotomy, foraminotomy, and discectomy (which are fancy words for a microdiscectomy procedure) on a patient with a herniated disc just recently. She fell into the 20% category where her pain was medically refractory and required surgery.
During her two-week post-op visit, she eagerly shared her excellent recovery. She said she felt “liberated” from her pain. We are so glad that this patient is free of pain and the solution was a short outpatient surgery. Our SCCNS team loves to hear our patient’s stories.
If you are suffering from back and leg pain from a disc herniation, contact us today for your initial consultation.