When a disc begins to degenerate, it may also become herniated. When a disc is herniated, the inner part of its core leaks out. This will, in turn, create a weakened spot in the disc’s outer core. The weak spot is normally right below the spinal nerve root. The herniated disc applies pressure onto the nerve. This pressure causes sciatica, which is a very harsh pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg. When pain that runs down the leg is caused by a herniated disc, it is normally referred to as radiculopathy.
Most herniated discs occur at the bottom of the spine. Approximately nine out of ten herniated discs happen at either the L4-L5 or L5-S1. Pain will be felt in the L5 nerve is the herniated disc is at the L4-L5 or at the S1 nerve if it is at the L5-S1.
If the problem is at the L5 nerve, there is a great chance for either numbness or pain on the top part of the foot. It may also make it harder to flex the big toe, and in some cases, it can also lessen the flexibility of the ankle. Pain may be felt all the way from the person’s rear to their foot.
When it is the S1 nerve that has the problem, it is not uncommon for the ankle to lose its reflexes. Ankle push off may also be hindered, denying the person the ability to complete a toe rise. There will likely also be pain and numbness all the way down the leg to the foot. This pain may end at the sole of the foot or on the outer part of the foot.
There are several treatment options available to relieve the pain associated with the herniated disc. The nerves need the proper care and treatment to return to normal. Before surgery is brought into the discussion, it is better to try to give the nerves a chance to getter better without invasive intervention. It normally takes around six weeks for it to heal if it is going to do so on its own. This does not sentence the sufferer to six weeks of pain. There are options to try to reduce it during this period.
First off, the person will likely begin a physical therapy routine. Chiropractors can also offer some relief. There are also pharmaceutical pain remedies. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral steroids such as prednisone and a cortisone injection are all possibilities.
If the pain is still present after the six week period is over, it may be time for surgical intervention. This is most normally the case if the pain is really severe. Microdiscectomy surgery is an available option to end the pain associated with the herniated disc. This occurs because the surgery removes the pressure that is on the nerve root. The part of the disc that is pressuring the nerve is removed. This will give the nerve root that opportunity to heal properly.
Written By: Updated: June 29,2011