When Does a Herniated Spinal Disc Require Surgery?

When Does a Herniated Spinal Disc Require Surgery?

A herniated spinal disc is often a source of chronic back and neck pain. Whether you need surgery for the condition depends on a few factors.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, expert spine surgeon Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a herniated disc.

Dr. Bo uses advanced diagnostic technologies to identify the damaged disc and customizes a care plan to relieve disc-related symptoms.

Why you have a herniated disc

Within your spine are protective discs that sit between your spinal vertebrae. These discs have a sturdy outer shell and a soft, gel-like center to absorb the shock of your movements and keep your spine properly aligned.

Too much pressure on your spinal discs can rupture (herniate) the outer shell and force the disc’s center outward. The herniated disc material can press on your spinal nerves and trigger a range of painful symptoms.

Pressure on the discs can originate from degenerative changes that occur in your spine as you get older. Aging contributes to the wearing down of the disc structure and allows water to leak out, which dries up the disc.

You may also be prone to developing a herniated disc due to:

While herniated discs are more common in older people, people of any age can experience persistent pain from a herniated disc that ultimately requires medical management.

When to get help for a herniated disc

You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care if you have persistent symptoms that affect your quality of life or your ability to stay active.

Symptoms of a herniated disc can affect your spine, arms, legs, and hips, and include:

If left untreated, a ruptured disc can lead to the loss of bowel and bladder control and physical disability. Dr. Bo can accurately confirm a herniated disc and determine what treatment you need to find lasting symptom relief.

Who might need surgery for a herniated spinal disc

Because we always take the most conservative approach possible, Dr. Bo may initially recommend nonsurgical therapies to relieve symptoms of a herniated disc.

We offer conservative treatments like oral medications and referrals for physical therapy. You may also benefit from epidural steroid injections. These injections deliver anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications directly into the epidural space of your spine where your spinal nerves rest.

Surgery is typically a last-resort treatment option for people who continue to experience debilitating pain and other symptoms of a herniated disc. The goal of minimally invasive spine surgery is to remove part or all of the damaged disc that’s pressing on your nerves.

Dr. Bo may also complete a spinal fusion procedure to join two or more vertebrae together to limit movement in your spine. Fusion surgery can prevent additional herniated disc complications and improve your mobility.

Call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office near you today to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for herniated disc symptoms or book an appointment online to find out if you’re a candidate for spine surgery. 

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