Could that pain in your back or leg be a symptom of a herniated disc? San Antonio, TX, pain management specialist Dr. Prafulla Singh shares information on common symptoms and explains how herniated discs are diagnosed and treated.
Herniated disc symptoms
Oval discs cushion the space between your vertebrae. Each disc consists of a soft center covered by a tough outer covering. Damage to the disk caused by an injury or even wear and tear over the years may cause the soft center to herniate or push through the outer layer. Herniated nerves can press on nerves and cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Pain in your back, buttocks, legs or arms
- Weakness in legs or arms
- Tingling or burning
Herniated discs don't always cause symptoms. If you do experience pain, you may notice that it's worse at night or after walking, standing or sitting.
How are herniated discs diagnosed?
When you visit our San Antonio office, we'll perform a neurological examination that will test your muscle strength and reflexes. We'll also evaluate your ability to feel vibrations and pinpricks and will ask you to walk a few paces. Information from your examination will help us diagnose a herniated disc, but you may also need one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
How are herniated discs treated?
Pain and other symptoms often improve if you use a heating pad throughout the day and strengthen your back muscles with exercises provided by Dr. Singh or a physical therapist. Over-the-counter medications can help control pain caused by a herniated disc.
If these conservative methods aren't helpful, you may benefit from stronger prescription medications, muscle relaxants or cortisone injections to decrease pain and inflammation. If your pain radiates from your back to your legs or buttocks, anti-convulsant medications may be helpful. Anticonvulsants don't just control seizures, but are also effective in controlling radiating pain. Although you probably won't need surgery to remove the herniated part of the disc, it may be recommended if your symptoms don't improve.
There's no need to live with pain from a herniated disc when effective treatment options are available. Call San Antonio, TX, pain management specialist Dr. Prafulla Singh at (210) 527-1166 to schedule your appointment to discuss the best treatment for your symptoms.