Disc Extrusion, also known as a ruptured or herniated disc, is a degenerative spine condition that may lead to nerve compression and significant back and neck pain. This potentially painful condition is commonly caused by nothing more than the natural aging process, although traumatic injury and other environmental factors can exacerbate its onset. Treatment of disc extrusion is normally successfully completed with a series of noninvasive, conservative treatments that are designed to decompress the irritated nerve and allow the disc to heal over time.
Symptoms of Disc Extrusion
Some of the most common symptoms of disc extrusion and nerve compression include:
- Pain at the site of compression in the back or neck
- Pain that travels along the compressed nerve
- Stiffness or soreness
- Unexpected muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling
- A burning or pins-and-needles feeling
- Disc extrusion or bulging disc
Disc Extrusion Causes
While disc extrusion causes can vary, the end result is similar – the outer wall of an intervertebral disc, the annulus fibrosus, develops a tear and leaks its inner disc material, the nucleus pulposus, into the spinal canal. In and of itself, the tear is usually not painful. However, when the disc fluid impinges on nearby spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself, you may experience symptoms like tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain. Causes of a disc extrusion, also called a herniated disc, can include traumatic injury, overexertion, illness, and obesity, but the most common cause is degeneration that accompanies the natural aging process.
Disc Extrusion Treatment
In the event that a degenerative spine condition is determined to be causing your pain, your doctor will typically first attempt to manage the symptoms with a series of conservative treatments, such as pain medication, hot or cold compresses, limited rest, and low-impact exercise.
If you are unable to manage your disc extrusion symptoms with conservative treatments, the two main paths of surgical treatment available to you are Fusion surgery or an Endoscopic procedure. Fusion surgery is a highly invasive operation that involves a large incision, bone grafts, stabilizing hardware, and an arduous rehabilitation of up to a year. An endoscopic procedure, on the other hand, is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that uses a small incision and a series of tubes to funnel surgical instruments to the site of neural compression. No hardware or bone grafts are required. Because only a small incision is required for the passage of the endoscope, the recovery process is significantly shorter than that of a fusion surgery.
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