The discs in your spine serve important purposes: they let you bend, twist, and extend your back or neck safely. When disc problems occur, the health experts at Doctors United offer evaluation and comprehensive treatment at offices in the West Farms and Wakefield neighborhoods in the Bronx, White Plains, Yonkers, and Ardsley, New York. To schedule an evaluation, call the nearest office or book your visit online today.
The discs in your spine are round cushion-like structures that sit between the bones called vertebrae. These discs absorb shock when you move or twist your back and neck and allow for some flexibility of the spine. Each disc has an outer portion called an annulus, and an inner portion called a nucleus.
Disc problems happen when one or several of your spinal discs breaks down and gets weaker over time. Pain from a disc problem can come from the disc itself or from the pressure that a disc places on a nearby nerve root coming from the spine.
The most common disc problems are:
Degenerative disc disease is responsible for many cases of upper and lower back pain as well as neck pain. It occurs when your spinal discs change or break down over time, primarily because of aging.
A slipped disc, also called a herniated disc, happens when the annulus breaks down and causes the nucleus of the disc to protrude into the spinal column. If the nucleus puts pressure on a nearby nerve, pain, numbness, and other neurological symptoms may be the result.
Slipped discs and degenerative disc disease cause similar sets of symptoms, which your provider at Doctors United can evaluate. The symptoms can worsen with certain movements, such as twisting your back or reaching upward, and might get generally worse over time.
Depending on the location of your disc problems along your spine, you might experience symptoms like:
Some disc problems set in without symptoms and are only detectable with imaging tests.
While performing your evaluation, your provider at Doctors United takes a detailed medical history and uses imaging tests like X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view the affected discs and assess the severity of your disc problems.
Treatment for disc problems depends on their severity and your particular diagnosis. Most of the time, conservative measures alone are enough to relieve pain and other symptoms from disc degeneration or a slipped disc.
You can manage disc problems with physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, or spinal injections. Chiropractic and orthopedic specialists are on staff at Doctors United to facilitate your care plan.
If a conservative treatment plan doesn’t provide adequate relief, Doctors United recommends disc surgeries like microdiscectomy, which removes the damaged portion of a disc, artificial disc replacement, or spinal fusion surgery.
For more information on disc problems and how to manage them, call Doctors United or book an appointment online today.