A herniated disc is a problem with one of the disks that are between each individual vertebrae that make your spine. Our spinal discs have a softer center that is encased in a tougher exterior. A herniated disc occurs when one of your discs tears and the softer interior begins to push out of the encasing.
When this occurs, it can irritate surrounding nerves and cause the patient pain, weakness or numbness in one of the limbs. However, some patients never experience discomfort at all. Usually patients do not need to undergo surgery to correct the problem.
There are several factors that make you at risk for herniated disc; however, it is most often the result of aging-related wear and tear. This is most commonly called disc degeneration. As we age, our spinal discs lose some of its contents – resulting in them becoming less flexible and more prone to injury. They may rupture or tear from even the slightest strain or twist.
You may have heard the advice to lift with your legs and not with your backs. Sometimes our back muscles are more engaged than our leg muscles while lifting a heavy, large, or even odd shaped object. When this occurs, we may be leaving ourselves susceptible to a herniated disc – especially if we add twisting and turning while lifting.
As we have already mentioned, there are certain factors that may make certain patients more prone than others. The following factors may increase your risk of a herniated disc:
- Excessive body weight causes additional stress on the disks in your lower back
- Jobs that demand repetitive pulling, pushing, lifting, bending, and twisting
- Genetics may make some people more prone to developing a herniated disc
While most herniated discs occur in your lumbar spine (lower back), they may also occur in your cervical spine (neck). The following are the most common symptoms:
- Nerves affected by the herniated disc may cause the muscles around them to falter and become impaired.
- Bodily pain:
- Depending on where the herniated disc occurs, patients note pain in their buttocks, thigh, calf, shoulder, and arm.
- Tingling or numbness:
- Patients with a herniated disk often experience tingling or numbness in the limbs closest to the affect disc.
Regenerative medicine is an outpatient non-surgical option for those who are suffering from a herniated disc. We offer two forms of regenerative medicine: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow concentrate (BMC) therapies.
Both PRP and BMC are very similar in the way they are prepared and injected. First, one of our doctors will remove a sample of blood (similar to a normal blood test) or stem cells from the patient. The stem cells are extracted from the hip bone and the blood is drawn from the patient’s arm. The samples are then placed in a centrifuge where the contents are spun and separated. The doctor uses the platelet-rich contents or stem cells and then, using an ultrasound for guidance, injects the contents into the injured site.
Since regenerative medicine uses the patient’s own body for recovery, there are very few side effects. While regenerative medicine is often compared to cortisone, it is important to note that cortisone masks pain while PRP and BMC heal an injured site. By healing the injury, the pain also subsides.
If you believe you are suffering from a herniated disc, please contact us at 201-729-0001 for an evaluation of your injury and what non-surgical alternatives may be right for you. Our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, Lyndhurst, and Fort Lee; we offer weekday and weekend appointments.