Herniated Lumbar Disc Treatment In Dallas
People suffering from back pain may trace their discomfort to herniated discs. While discs may herniate anywhere along the spine, it is in the lower back, or lumbar region, that it most often occurs. Herniated lumbar discs, also known as:
- Ruptured discs
- Slipped discs
They are a common cause of sciatica. Sciatic pain, frequently disabling, runs from the buttock down one leg.
Fortunately, the majority of patients with herniated lumbar discs should respond well to treatment. Dallas/Fort Worth neurosurgeon Dr. David Barnett of Texas Neurosurgery LLP, named among the Best Doctors in Dallas in D Magazine and the Best Texas Physicians in Texas Monthly, will conduct an examination and determine the best course of herniated lumbar discs treatment for each patient.
What Are Herniated Lumbar Discs?
Flat, round discs connect and cushion the spinal vertebrae, serving as shock absorbers. There are 24 spinal vertebrae, with five making up the lumbar region of the lower back. Discs consist of the tough cartilaginous outer ring known as the annulus fibrosus and the softer center of the disc, the nucleus pulposus.
Herniation occurs when the soft, gel-like interior pushes through the disc’s hard outer shell. As this material leaks out, it pressures the spinal nerves. The patient may experience severe pain, numbness, or weakness.
Causes of Herniated Lumbar Discs
Most herniated lumbar discs result due to age-related wear and tear known as disc degeneration. The discs of younger people contain a considerable amount of water. As people get older, the water content decreases, lessening flexibility and increasing the risk of herniation. This spine condition most often occurs in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
Most patients cannot recall a specific cause of their herniated lumbar disc. Occasionally, patients recall a specific traumatic event such as a fall or lifting a heavy object. Trauma in the past can cause a tear within the disc annulus that leads to a disc herniation years later.
Other causes include:
- Excess body weight
- Improper lifting or twisting
- Sedentary lifestyle
Herniated Lumbar Disc Symptoms
Common symptoms patients experience when they have a herniated disc include:
- Back pain
- Back muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness in legs
- Foot or leg numbness
- Reflexes decreasing in foot and ankle
Certain movements and positions exacerbate herniated lumbar disc symptoms, while rest may offer some relief.
How Are Herniated Lumbar Discs Diagnosed?
Diagnosis includes a thorough physical examination by the doctor. The exam consists of pain assessment, muscle reflex testing, and muscle strength. Other tests include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT scan)
- Electromyography (EMG)
Lumbar Herniated Disc Surgery & Non-Surgical Treatment
The majority of patients diagnosed with herniated lumbar discs respond to conservative treatment. It consists of:
- Bed rest
- Medical treatment
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Lumbosacral back support – may also provide relief.
Within several weeks or a few months, significant improvement oftentimes takes place. However, for some patients with ongoing pain or weakness, conservative treatment is not sufficient.
Lumbar Disc Herniation Surgery
Those patients may find relief from microdiscectomy or disc removal. Removal of a ruptured disc in the lumbar region requires a Lumbar Microdiscectomy.
Lumbar Microdiscectomy Surgery
In this minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon uses a guided X-ray and a thin tube to remove the herniated lumbar disc. In general, the procedure takes between 40 minutes to just over one hour. Afterward, the incision is covered by a bandage.
Minimally invasive microdiscectomy is performed on an outpatient basis. While patients can return home post-procedure, they will need someone to drive them home. In addition, patients must avoid strenuous activity for several weeks. Patients with sit down, non-physically demanding jobs may return to work within a week. Once patients have fully healed, they may return to all of their activities without limitation.
Dr. Barnett has operated on professional athletes that successfully returned to their sport. He has performed thousands of these procedures and his success rate for this operation is well over 90 percent.
Advantages of minimally invasive surgery over traditional back surgery include:
- Less recovery time
- Lower risk of infection
- Less bleeding
Consult with a Spine Specialist & Neurosurgeon
If you have been diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc, contact the office of David Barnett MD, and schedule an appointment. Dr. David W. Barnett has been in practice for more than 26 years and is a leading neurosurgeon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If you have tingling, pain, or other symptoms of a herniated lumbar disc and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barnett, please contact us today.
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What Our Patients Have to Say
From start to finish, Dr. Barnett and his staff were always informative and professional. Dr. Barnett performed my neck surgery and lower back surgery all during a pandemic and everything worked out perfect. Highly recommend Dr. Barnett. Top notch.
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