What is a Herniated Disc? And When Does One Need Surgery for Herniated Disc?

The spinal column is one of the most important body structures which protect the spinal cord, the ultimate link between the brain and body. The backbone as it is commonly called, the spinal column is the collection of bones called vertebrae which are stacked upon one another with discs placed in between them as the cushion.

These vertebral disc holds two vertebrae together, acts as shock absorbers and adds the flexibility and mobility to the spine. Being a critical component of spine structure, the spinal disc’s health is important for the normal functioning of the spine. Any specific problems experienced by the disc can result in painful spine and Herniated Disc is one of the spinal problems commonly experienced by patients around the world.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A spinal disc is a jelly donut type structure with the tougher fibrous outer layer and soft gel-like centre. When the outer fibrous layer begins to rupture either due to injury, stress or age, the inner gel-like centre pushes out, pressing the nearby nerves resulting in pain which can be severe.
This herniated disc also called a ruptured disc or slipped disc can happen in any part of the spine, and the pain depends on the location of rupture or slippage.

Symptoms of Herniated Disc:

The symptom of a herniated disc depends on the severity of herniation (displacement) and the position of the disc herniated. The patient may experience severe pain, weakness or numbness in the area controlled by the specific nerve it affects (presses). Sometimes the patient may only experience mild to no pain if the herniated disc is not affecting the nearby nerve. In the majority of the cases, patients experience an intermittent episode of mild pain which then over time develops into more severe pain demanding the attention of the spinal specialist. Diagnosis for Herniated Disc problems is performed by a spine specialist by performing physical and neurological problems, imaging test studies.

Herniated Disc Treatment:

Initially, the patient is recommended to maintain a low activity level for a few weeks to decrease the spinal inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory spinal medication is frequently used to numb down moderate pain situations. A well designed Physical therapy program in conjunction with pain medications is also very much helpful in improving the condition of the patient.

So, does a patient need surgery for Herniated Disc Problems?

Surgery for herniated disc problems is only recommended by a spine specialist only when non-surgical treatment options like pain medications and physical therapy fail to reduce the back pain. A spine surgeon carefully weighs down the risks and benefits of the surgical treatment options before going ahead.
If you are suffering from herniated disc problems and have been suggesting a surgery it is advised to seek help from an experienced spinal specialist for a second opinion. If you are in the U.K are looking for treatment for your herniated disc problems, Dr.Jwalant S Mehta is the Spine Specialist in the U.K who can surely help you get rid of your pain for you.