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Reza Ghorbani, MD, FIPP
Disc Herniation
Advanced Pain Medicine Institute
. http://www.advancedpainmedicineinstitute.com/

Disc Herniation

Recent surveys show that pain accounts for 80% of all physician visits. Unfortunately, only 48% of pain patients felt that they were getting enough information on the most effective ways to treat and/or manage their pain.

Interventional pain physicians are specialists in the field of treating back, neck and shoulder pain.

Some of the causes of lower back pain and lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica) include lumbar strain, degenerative disc disease, facet joint disease, herniated discs, vertebral compression fracture, spinal stenosis, failed back surgery syndrome and sacroiliac joint disease.

With disc herniation, pain and weakness can limit patient's daily activities. In these cases, the first line of treatment includes physical therapy along with analgesics and lifestyle limitations.

If the problem persists more than a few weeks, the next line of treatment should include transforaminal epidural steroid injections under fluoroscopic guidance for accurate delivery of medication to the affected spinal nerves. The steroid will reduce the inflammation of the spinal nerves and allow the herniated disc to heal itself.

If a series of these injections provide temporary relief for the patient, the next step should include percutaneous disc decompression using a small probe to aspirate the herniated portion of the disc in order to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerves.

Percutaneous disc decompression is a simple, innovative solution and an alternative to open back surgery for herniated discs (in selected cases), following failed conservative treatments. Compromised disc position can compress the spinal nerves that extend from the spine to the legs and cause pain and weakness in the back and legs.

Percutaneous disc decompression is shown to be safe and effective in clinical studies and proven to considerably reduce the pain intensity and improve functional status. It is an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia and sedation and it is correlated with low complications.

Percutaneous disc decompression does not involve any cutting of the skin, causes minimal defect in the disc structure, has a very low incidence of scar tissue formation and only takes less than 10 minutes to perform. It typically has a rapid recovery time of only a few days.

Contraindications to percutaneous disc decompression include traumatic spinal fracture, infection, tumor and pregnancy, patients with extruded disc fragment within the spinal cord, severe spinal stenosis or severely degenerated disc disease and patients with severe and rapidly progressing neurological deficits.

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