Clinics in Fairbanks - A herniated disc is a rupturing of the tissues between the vertebrae or the abnormality of the spine caused by injury from wear and tear on the body. A herniated disc could at times be referred to as a pinched nerve, sciatica, ruptured disc or slipped disc, but these terms are not necessarily accurate.
A "pinched nerve" is not the same thing, though these are commonly known as herniated discs. Herniated discs nonetheless do result in pinched nerves. It is important to know the difference between the two, so that the actual source of pain can be cured and identified.
Used to refer to many kinds of back pain, the term sciatica is usually utilized. Nevertheless, sciatica is caused from a herniated disc pinching the sciatic nerve. A pinched sciatic nerve generates pain in the legs or lower back pain.
A herniated disc could happen wherever along the length of the spinal column, but the lumbar section or lower back is normally the most common location of herniated discs. A herniated disc could have an effect on the thoracic section, or upper back, but is more common in the cervical region, or the neck area, where it results in severe headaches, dizziness, and mild to severe pain in the arms, neck and shoulders.
A medical examination will determine the cause of the pain, and whether it is caused by a pinched disc or nerve. A healthcare provider will require the patient's medical history. The patient would go through a physical examination and diagnostic imaging may be required. An MRI or a CT scan provide a more accurate image of a herniated disc compared to an X-ray. A correct diagnosis is vital to determining the best course of treatment to provide lasting relief.
An operation is suggested just in the most extreme conditions of a herniated disc. In most conditions, low-impact exercise, rest, physical therapy or muscle relaxant medication are all that is needed. Cortisone injections or other pain medication may sometimes be prescribed. Patients might seek out the several alternative treatment options available as well.