If you think disc herniation only happens when you get older, you may be surprised to learn that the problem most often occurs in people aged 35-55 years. If your back pain doesn’t respond to conservative medical care, it may be time to consult Kushagra Verma, MD, MS, FAAOS, at Verma Spine, serving patients in Los Alamitos, Long Beach, and Orange County, California. Dr. Verma helps alleviate your pain through a combination of experience in spine surgery, expertise in the most advanced technology, and personalized care. To learn if you’re a good candidate for disc herniation surgery, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Each vertebra in your spine is separated by a disc that’s designed to cushion the bones, absorb shock, and help stabilize your spine. These discs consist of two parts: a strong outer covering that encloses a gel-like center.
As you get older, the discs naturally dehydrate and weaken from everyday use. When an area in the outer cover gets too weak or becomes damaged from an injury, pressure from the spine forces the gel-like center through the weak spot.
Sometimes, the gel bulges out, protruding between the bones or into the spinal canal where it compresses nerves. The cover may also rupture and let the inner material leak out, which irritates and inflames the nerves.
Herniated discs most often occur in your lower back (lumbar spine), but they can also develop in your neck (cervical spine). When the disc herniation affects your nerves, you’ll develop symptoms such as:
You may also develop spinal instability if the disc loses enough inner gel to flatten and stop functioning.
Conservative treatment may include medication, physical therapy, structured home exercises, and epidural steroid injections. About 80% of patients improve in six weeks. If your symptoms don’t improve with conservative therapy, you may need to consider surgery.
Dr. Verma treats disc herniation with procedures such as:
When performing a discectomy, Dr. Verma uses minimally invasive surgery that avoids cutting your muscles, causes less postoperative pain, and speeds up your recovery. Using a specialized tool inserted through a small incision, he removes the herniated portion of the disc.
Dr. Verma removes the entire disc if it has suffered too much damage or collapsed. Then he replaces it with an artificial disc that moves like a real disc and maintains normal mobility.
Before disc replacements were available, the two vertebrae were fused after a disc was removed. While a bone fusion stabilizes the spine, it also restricts movement.
If you have chronic back or neck pain, call Verma Spine or schedule an appointment online today.
Dr. Verma practices in the following areas: