You’ve received an expert diagnosis for your back or sciatic pain and it’s conclusive. You’ve got a herniated disc. Now that you know what the problem is, what’s the prognosis? How will your spine specialist recommend that you proceed?
A lot depends on the level of pain you’re experiencing and whether that pain is threatening your mobility and quality of life. If you’re in so much pain from your herniated disc that you’re unable to move, work, or enjoy other activities, you may be at the point at which you need surgery.
While that’s not always the case, there are certain indications which point your specialist toward a surgical solution.
Do I really need surgery?
Sometimes, the answer is “yes”. If you’ve been soldiering along with the pain for some time and your herniated disc has reached the point of no return, you and your specialist should be talking about surgery.
When therapeutic solutions like medication and physiotherapy aren’t helping, your surgeon may recommend surgery to correct the problem. Sciatica (when the pain radiates down one or both legs) is another important sign that proceeding with surgery is the right course of action.
Constant pain that doesn’t respond to any of the non-invasive therapies you’ve been using may be impacting your ability to get to work, or pursue other activities. Weakness and numbness may make standing and walking painful.
At the most extreme edge of herniated disc symptoms are those which affect your bladder and bowel or induce numbness in your groin. These are the most serious symptoms and should prompt you to go immediately to your local emergency ward for treatment.
While the prospect of surgery is frightening for some, if any of the symptoms listed above are present, it’s highly recommended. The good news for herniated disc sufferers, though, is that surgical technology has come a long way in recent years.
Microscopic surgery – good news for herniated disc sufferers.
This minimally invasive surgical option employs a tiny incision approximately one inch in length. A microscope is brought in and used to guide your surgeon to the herniated disc, through the use of fluoroscopy (advanced X-ray tech). This allows your surgeon to remove the affected portions of the disc, relieving pressure on neighboring nerves.
Because microscopic surgery is so minimally invasive, most patients find that their recovery periods are extraordinarily brief. Usually, they’re up and out of the hospital the day of their surgery. Patient outcomes for microscopic surgery are exceptional, with full recovery enjoyed by most patients in very little time.
Your spine specialist knows.
You’re reading this because you want to find out more about a suspected or recently diagnosed herniated disc. While we’re happy to share this important information with you, only a spine specialist can help you find the right therapeutic response.
The highly skilled spine specialists at Jersey Spine Associates will guide you to the right therapeutic option for your herniated disc. Schedule a consultation with one of our spine Associates and find the right therapy for your herniated disc.