Thursday, August 11, 2016

Herniated Disc Treatment in Chicago, IL

Herniated Disc Treatment in Chicago

Herniated disc description

The bones that form the vertebrae (spine) are suppressed by small discs, which are flat, round, and contain a tough outer layer known as annulus. The outer layer encircles a jellylike material known as nucleus. The key function of this discs in your vertebrae is to act as a shock absorber for the spine.

Band Aid back surgery Chicago, IL (Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery) from Robert Fink on Vimeo.

What then is a herniated disc? A slipped or herniated disc is a problem where a segment of the disc nucleus is pressed out of the annulus in the vertebral canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. Normally, a slipped or herniated disc is in the initial stage of degeneration.

The vertebral canal does not have sufficient space and it is not enough for the vertebral nerve and the displaced disc segment. That is the reason why the disc is pushed and keeps pressing on the vertebral nerves, thus triggering pain which can be quite severe in some cases.

An individual can have a slipped or herniated disc in any part of the vertebrae, but in most cases it affects lower neck and back.

Causes of a herniated disc

The age-linked tear-and-wear usually causes a slipped or herniated disc. This is also called disc degeneration. The discs in your vertebrae slowly lose their water content as you advance in age. As a result, their flexibility reduces and they are more prone to tearing and rupturing even with minor strain or twist. It is vital to bear in mind that not everyone’s vertebral discs age at the same rate or at the same time.

Generally, it is not possible to simply identify the exact cause of a slipped or herniated disc. Different factors contribute to it, such as:

  • Lifting heavy objects using back muscles instead of your thigh and leg muscles.
  • Blow or fall to the back
  • Severe injury or accident

Who’s at risk?

Even though everybody can develop this problem, some individuals have a higher risk. The risk factors for slipped or herniated disc are listed below:

  • Weight – being obese or overweight puts you at a higher risk as with most problems that affect our body. This is because the excess mass forms a higher pressure on discs in your vertebrae. For example, International Journal of Obesity published a study that discovered BMI above 25 is linked with increased risk of herniated disc or lumbar disc degeneration in the neck. In fact, being obese or overweight at a young age escalates your risks of experiencing this problem in future.
  • Inheritance -some people have a hereditary predisposition to have this problem.
  • Work – individuals who do physically difficult jobs that involve repetitive lifting, pulling, bending, pushing sideways and twisting have a greater risk of developing this problem.

Symptoms of slipped or herniated disc

Although some individuals experience pain that ranges from minor to severe, others may have a herniated disc problem without even recognizing it. As mentioned before, a slipped or herniated disc can affect any part of the vertebrae, but it usually develops in lower neck and back region. Below is a list of the most common symptoms linked with this problem:

  • Burning sensation, Tingling, or aching, in the affected area
  • Numbness and Pain that commonly affect only one side of the body
  • Muscle weakness that can’t be explained
  • Pain extending to legs and arms
  • Experiencing pain when walking for shorter distances
  • Pain worsens at night or with certain movements
  • Pain aggravates after sitting or standing for a long period of time

You should not ignore the pain, particularly if it continues for a certain period of time, consult your physician if the pain you experience disturbs your capacity to control the muscles.

Herniated discs vs. Bulging

It’s not unusual for individuals to assume that herniated disc and bulging refer to the same problem. Nevertheless, that is not the case. Herniated disc results when a snap in the tough exterior layer of a cartilage permits the softer, interior cartilage to jut out of the disc. The snap affects only a small segment of the disc. They are also called slipped or ruptured discs.

Conversely, a bulging disc extends outside the place it would normally occupy between the spines, but it does not rupture. The bulge affects a big segment of the disc. Furthermore, an individual is more likely to experience a bulging disc than a herniated disc. Having said that, a slipped or herniated disc is more likely to be painful.

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Diagnosis of a herniated disc

Your physician will ask you to describe all symptoms you experience and generally, a healthcare personnel will suspect a problem with slipped or herniated disc straightaway after you describe all the symptoms. The physician will also perform a physical examination and pay special consideration to the section that is causing you pain to check for the sensitivity. Also, your physician may perform a neurological examination to check:

  • Reflexes
  • Ability to feel vibration or light touches
  • Muscle strength
  • Walking ability

To evaluate whether the problem is an infection or an inflammation, you might need to perform a blood test. Other tests that your physician may order for him to rule out other problems include:

  • Myelogram – shows pressure on the vertebral nerves or cord
  • X-ray – this can’t detect slipped or herniated disc. The main purpose of this test is to establish causes of the back pain e.g. infection, tumor…
  • CT scan – creates cross-sectional pictures of the vertebral column and structures around it
  • MRI – confirms the position of the herniated disc and detects
  • affected nerves

Herniated disc treatment
If an individual does not experience symptoms of a herniated or slipped disc, then the problem normally does not require treatment. However, in the event when the problem affects day-to-day fife or causes pain, then the physician may suggest:

  1. Medications:
  • Nerve pain medications – relieve nerve-damage soreness
  • OTC (Over-the-counter) medications – relieve minor to moderate pain
  • Cortisone injections – injected directly into the painful section around the vertebral nerves
  • Muscle relaxers – prescribed to patients who have muscle spasms
  • Narcotics – usually prescribed for a short period of time and the physician prescribes them only when OTC medications don’t help

  1. Therapy:
  • Short-term support for the lower neck back or neck
  • Traction
  • Physical therapy
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery – prescribed only when all the other treatments have prove to be unhelpful. Actually, only a small number of individuals need surgery for this problem.

  1. Treatments at home
  • Avoid activities that trigger or aggravate the pain
  • Apply hot wrappings to relieve stiffness and ice-pack to relieve pain
  • Become active, but evade vigorous activities. You practice yoga or walk
  • Follow prescription provided by the physician
  • Stretch


A slipped or herniated disc is a common problem that affects lower neck and back. While some individuals can’t experience pain, others can. It is advised to schedule an appointment and see your physician if you feel pain and ensure you don’t spend excessive time at bed rest as well, as it could worsen the pain.


  1. At the Orthopedic Center of Arlington, our staff is committed to providing comprehensive care for our patients utilizing state of the art techniques.

  2. At Advanced Pain Centre we provide effective treatment for slipped disc, slip disc symptoms, pinch nerve lower back, treatment or surgery for bulging disc, spinal disc prolapse, spinal disc bulge, hand or leg numbness, treatment for low back pain, spinal decompression, treatment for sciatic nerve, sciatic pain. We use non-surgical decompression as part of our treatment for effective relief of slipped disc conditions.