Herniated discs are among the most common causes of back and neck pain. While these injuries can resolve on their own with rest, recovery can be long and painful. In some cases, intervention is needed for you to recover fully and get back to your active lifestyle. When back pain from herniated discs interferes with your day to day life, advanced treatments can help you heal more quickly.
Symptoms Experienced With Herniated Disc
Between each of the vertebrae in your spine, there are discs filled with a jelly-like fluid that offers cushioning. Sometimes, however, the outer layer is torn or damaged, allowing the material inside to push out. When this happens, it can cause irritation to nearby nerves, which can result in pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
Herniated discs can occur anywhere along your spine, but they are most common in the lower back. The most common herniated disc symptoms are:
- Pain in your arm or leg. The location of the pain will depend on where the herniated disc is. One lower in your back is likely to cause pain in your buttocks, thighs and calves. One in your neck or upper back may cause pain in your arms and shoulders. It may be felt as a shooting pain that gets worse with movement or when you cough or sneeze. In some cases, the pain may radiate as far as the fingers or toes.
- Weakness. The muscles that are served by the nerves associated with the disc can become weaker. You may have trouble lifting or holding items or may stumble when you walk.
- Tingling and numbness. Pressure on the nerves may cause these symptoms in the body parts that are served by those nerves.
- Muscle spasms. These are most common when you experience a herniated disc in your neck.
In some cases, herniated discs cause no symptoms at all. They may be found during testing for another medical condition.
What Makes Regenerative Medicine Right for This Condition?
In many cases, no treatment is needed for a herniated disc. The body is capable of healing the injured disc and will recover over time. However, many discs do not heal without treatment. Herniated discs can also cause complications when they do not heal properly. Pain and numbness can increase to the point where they interfere with daily activities. In some rare cases, a herniated disc can compress the cauda equina to the point where there is a risk of permanent impairment.
Steroid shots are often used as a treatment for herniated discs. While these can provide relief for some patients, they may not offer relief for others. Additionally, high doses of steroids can cause undesirable side effects and can make it harder for the body to heal effectively.
Surgery often offers poor outlooks for herniated discs. Three-quarters of those who have fusion surgery will still require narcotic painkillers after surgical treatment. As many as 20% of those who have surgery for a herniated disc will experience a recurrence. Additionally, there is a risk of complications that can include pain that persists after surgery, infection, bleeding, nerve root damage and dural tears that can result in leakage of cerebrospinal fluid.
Regenerative medicine offers treatment options that are minimally invasive. Studies show natural growth factors created by the patient’s own body are less likely to cause side effects or to lead to rejection. The minimally invasive nature of these treatments mean less pain during treatment and an easier recovery period.
Treatment Options: Allographic Therapy and PRP
The two regenerative medicine options that are likely to provide relief from herniated disc pain are allographic therapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Both involve injections that are performed with the help of imaging technology for accuracy and precision.
PRP therapy has been used for over 20 years. Because early equipment was large and complex, early treatments occurred exclusively in surgical facilities. However, advances have made this therapy far more accessible and how it is used as a treatment for a range of soft tissue damage.
What to Expect After Treatment
Depending on which treatment you receive, treatment can take as little as 30 minutes. You may experience some mild pain, stiffness or swelling at the injection site after treatment. There is a small risk of infection. Applying ice to the treatment site for 10 to 20 minutes at a time two to three times a day can help relieve any discomfort. Most people return to their usual activities shortly after treatment.
How many treatments you will need depends on the severity of your injury and other factors related to your age, your general health and the area being treated. Sometimes multiple treatments are needed. In many cases, a single treatment is enough to promote long-term benefits.
However, since healing is a natural process, it can take some time for the full effects of the procedure to be felt. Two to three weeks after your procedure, we’ll assess your pain and mobility levels. You may already begin feeling relief. The full benefit may take as long as four to six months after treatment. It is important to remember that each case and patient are different.
Get the Help You Need
If back or neck pain are holding you back from the activities that you enjoy, you do not have to suffer. We believe that no one should have to live in pain. At our safe and modern outpatient clinic, we offer a range of treatments that can help you find relief from painful conditions like herniated discs. Our friendly and helpful staff will work with you to identify the source of your pain and to find the treatment that fits your life best. If you are looking for relief, get in touch today for a consultation.