If you are suffering from back or neck pain that radiates through your arms or legs, numbness, or a tingling sensation, you may be suffering from a herniated disc in the neck or back. This painful condition affects millions of people who often go without appropriate treatment, brushing the pain off as just a part of getting older or attributing it to a pulled muscle or awkward sleeping position. If you are experiencing chronic pain, it’s important to discover what’s causing it and get treatment. Once diagnosed, a back and neck specialist in Chapel Hill can provide you with herniated disc treatment options that not only end the pain, but help you avoid additional injury in the future.
What Is a Herniated Disc in the Back or Neck?
In between your vertebrae, the bones in your spine, you have small discs that absorb shock and provide cushioning. The exterior of the disc, the annulus, is a firm material, while the interior of the disc, the nucleus, is a gel-like substance.
A herniated disc, also called a slipped disc, occurs when the annulus tears or ruptures and the nucleus bulges out. Due to limited space in the spine, the bulging nucleus presses on nerves in the spine, causing pain, tingling, and loss of sensation.
What Causes a Herniated Disc in the Neck or Back?
A single injury can cause a tear that leads to a slipped or ruptured disc. However, most herniated discs in the back and neck are due to disc degeneration which is most often an effect of aging and on-going wear and tear. Those who work in physically demanding jobs, are overweight, or have a genetic predisposition to disc degeneration are at a higher risk for herniated disc pain.
See a Chapel Hill Back Doctor for Treatment?
In order to diagnose a slipped disc and make sure that is what is causing your pain, you do need to see a back and neck specialist in Chapel Hill. He or she can determine the extent or severity of the damage and work with you to develop a treatment plan to not only treat the pain but to also focus on healing the cause of the ruptured disc.
While symptoms may improve over time, most likely an untreated ruptured disc will worsen. A severely ruptured disc can cause permanent nerve damage, leading to chronic pain and numbness in the legs, shoulders, or arms, depending on where the damage is.
Traditional Options for Herniated Disc Treatment
There are several treatment options for a herniated disc in the back or neck, though many of them are invasive and not necessarily effective for all patients. These include:
- Over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen, or muscle relaxants
- Heat or ice applications
- Cortisone injections into the disc to reduce inflammation
- Epidural injections of steroids and anti-inflammatories in the spaces around the spinal cord
- Surgery to remove portions of the herniated disc
Chapel Hill Back and Neck Specialist
Rather than relying on pain medication that masks the problem, short-term solutions, or highly-invasive procedures, at Leigh Brain & Spine, we promote natural healing. Dr. Cosmas Leigh, a leading neck and back doctor in Chapel Hill, provides spinal decompression, a non-invasive method of gently reducing pressure between the discs while gently drawing the nucleus of the disc back into place. As part of this therapy, nutrients, oxygen, and fluid is also pulled back into the disc allowing it to naturally heal and regenerate.
Contact Us for Herniated Disc Treatment in Chapel Hill
At Leigh Brain and Spine, our back and neck specialists work with you to provide you with the best treatment option for your neck and back pain. To learn more about spinal decompression and our other innovative treatment options at our Chapel Hill office, fill out the form below or call us today at (919) 401-9933.