You may develop a herniated disc in your neck, but the problem more often affects your lower back, where it causes severe pain and sciatica. When your symptoms persist despite medications and physical therapy, the interventional therapies provided by Todd Koppel, MD, at Garden State Pain Management can help. Dr. Koppel develops individualized treatment to alleviate your pain by targeting the precise source of the problem. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Clifton, New Jersey, or use the online booking feature.
The rubbery discs located between each vertebra of your spine are made from a tough outer layer that encloses a gel-like center. Their design allows the discs to absorb shock, promote smooth spinal movement, and maintain stability.
When the outer cover becomes weak or damaged, pressure from your spine pushes the inner material out through the weakened area. At first, the gel may create a protruding bulge that pushes against nearby nerves. Eventually, the disc ruptures, allowing the inner material to leak out, which irritates and inflames the surrounding nerves.
You can develop a herniated disc from an injury, repetitive activities that stress your spine, and from lifting a heavy object. However, the primary cause is age-related deterioration. Over time, discs dry out and the outer wall weakens. As the disc degenerates, it only takes a small amount of pressure to cause a herniation.
Herniated discs most often occur in the lower or lumbar back, with only about 8% of all cases developing in the neck. Pain ranging from achy and dull to a sharp, electric-shock sensation is the primary symptom.
In addition to pain, you may experience numbness, tingling, or pain that radiates through your legs or arms, depending on the location of the herniated disc. In severe cases, leg or arm muscles may weaken or spinal instability may develop.
The first line of treatment includes medication and physical therapy, which relieves the pain and helps maintain movement while the herniated disc heals. If your symptoms persist, it’s time to consider interventional treatments such as:
Using X-ray guided imaging, Dr. Koppel injects steroids into the epidural space of the spine, which allows the medication to surround the affected nerve, diminish inflammation, and relieve pain. He may also include a local anesthetic in the injection for quick but temporary pain relief.
Dr. Koppel uses a needle to introduce radiofrequency (RF) energy into the disc. The RF energy removes a small amount of the inner material, reduces pressure inside the disc, and helps the herniated portion heal.
This is another minimally invasive procedure that relieves pressure as Dr. Koppel uses a small probe to remove material from inside the disc.
If you suffer from lower back or neck pain, call Garden State Pain Management or book an appointment online.