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Herniated Disc: What does this mean? What do I do?

I have been told I have a herniated disc, what does that mean and what can be done?” A herniated disc is a spine condition that occurs when the gel-like center of a disc ruptures through a weak area in the tough outer wall.  This condition is also commonly called a slipped disc or ruptured disc. They can be extremely painful if the gel-disc material makes contact with a nerve. This is often referred to as a “pinched nerve.”  It can send shooting electric type pain down the leg that can be severe. Weakness to the leg/s is sometimes seen as well and in some cases it can cause numbness and or tingling down the legs. 

There are some red flags to watch for when you have a herniated disc. Symptoms that should prompt a call to your doctor right away include developing a fever, chills, flu-like symptoms or a rash when your back symptoms start. You should also contact your doctor if you have significant or progressive weakness. If you develop significant bowel or bladder function changes, which are often associated with pain or numbness in the area around your rectum or genitals, you would need to have those symptoms evaluated as soon as possible in an emergency room setting.

NovaSpine Pain Institute treats numerous patients with herniated discs.  Treatment would include reviewing your MRI followed by a thorough examination evaluating your pain and any weakness or numbness or tingling that you are experiencing. Many times an epidural steroid injection or ESI, will be ordered for pain relief.  These work by decreasing inflammation and are used to help 'flush out' inflammatory mediators from around the area that may be a source of pain. ESI’s can offer relief lasting anywhere from days, to months, to years. Many patients prefer this to consulting with a surgeon and possible surgery.  The procedure takes less than 5 minutes to perform and most patients opt for light sedation for comfort.  A small IV is placed and you are given medication to help you to relax. Following the ESI, you have a brief stay in our recovery area and are able to go home generally after 30 minutes.

If you have been told that you have a herniated disc there are a number of options for pain relief. Call 623-777-4747 to schedule an appointment today at NovaSpine Pain Institute.  One of the providers will be happy to get you on the road to relief.  

Shauna Papa, RN Shauna Papa has been working with Dr. Baker as his nurse for 3 years now. She enjoys working closely with him to develop plans of care to help people in pain. Her favorite aspect of her job is seeing her patients return to their lives after receiving relief from debilitating pain conditions. She participates yearly in Pain Week in Las Vegas where she keeps up on all of the the latest advancements in pain management. Prior to working in pain management, Shauna worked extensively in trauma and emergency medicine both in the Phoenix area, and in Denver. In her time away from the office, Shauna enjoys spending time with her husband Randy and their 3 dogs Shilo, Ozzy and Baxter. She is a football fan and in keeping with her Denver roots, is a Denver Bronco super fan.

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