• Herniated Discs 101

    If you’ve visited a spine specialist because of persistent or severe back pain, you may have been diagnosed with a herniated disc . When you watch this video, you’ll see an animation of how a herniated disc can occur and how it might be treatable with spine surgery at a clinic in Los Angeles. The intervertebral discs of the spine provide cushioning and flexibility. When the exterior wall of a disc degenerates, it becomes more vulnerable to injury. A crack in the exterior wall can allow the inner material to protrude through to the outside. Subsequently, this material can compress a nearby nerve, leading to symptoms like back pain.

    Spine surgery isn’t always necessary for herniated discs. In fact, many patients can find sufficient relief of their symptoms with conservative treatments like rest and physical therapy. But when the symptoms persist longer than six weeks, spine surgery might be recommended. The spine specialist can remove the herniated portion of the disc, which relieves pressure on the nerves.

  • Differentiating Between Disc Conditions

    When you see a spine specialist, he or she will begin treatment by determining the exact nature of your problem. For many people, back pain is the result of a disc disease, such as a bulging disc, herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Your spine doctor in Los Angeles will diagnose the nature of your disc problem before choosing a treatment plan. Watch this video to learn more.

    In all of these conditions, a chronic or acute spinal injury that damages one or more discs causes pressure on the nerves in your back. This pressure causes pain that eventually sends many people to a spine specialist for treatment. The causes and symptoms of disc conditions vary depending on the nature of the injury, so your doctor will tailor your treatment plan accordingly.

  • Preventing a Recurrent Herniated Disc

    If you have recurrent disc herniation , undergoing spine surgery in Los Angeles may be necessary. A herniated disc is one of the most common problems a spine specialist treats. Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when the spine’s soft center pushes through the spinal bones. A herniated disc can cause severe lower back pain and numbness in the arms and legs. Keep reading to learn more about how you can prevent it from recurring. spinal-cord-injury

    Precise Diagnosis

    Visiting a spine specialist for a proper diagnosis is the first step in preventing a herniated disc from returning. A herniated disc is accompanied by many different symptoms, some of which can also indicate other back problems. For example, you may experience lower back pain or numbness after a spinal injury. By ruling out other kinds of spinal cord injuries, your spine doctor is better able to treat any back pain or discomfort stemming from your herniated disc.

    Physical Therapy

    After your spine specialist has diagnosed the problem, he or she may suggest physical therapy to treat the herniated disc. The key to herniated disc prevention is early intervention. When it is diagnosed right away, most people can use nonsurgical techniques to ease their symptoms and prevent recurrence. Your spine specialist may suggest specific exercises designed to strengthen your back muscles. He or she may also prescribe bed rest for the first day or two after experiencing back pain.

    Prescription Medications

    In addition to rest and physical therapy, a spine doctor might prescribe medications and injections to reduce pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen and naproxen are often recommended, as they are designed to ease inflammation. Epidural steroid injections can also be injected into the lower back. These injections are highly effective in reducing lower back pain. Steroid injections can generally provide immediate, short-tern pain relief. With early treatment, you and your spine doctor can create a plan to help you avoid spine surgery unless absolutely necessary.

  • What Type of Pain is Caused by a Herniated Disc?

    If you’re suffering from neck pain, lower back pain, or sciatica in Los Angeles , you may wonder if you have a herniated disc. Herniated discs can be caused by a combination of age-related degeneration of the discs in the spinal cord, and spinal injuries in the cervical or lumbar spine.

    Watch this video to learn more about the symptoms of a herniated disc caused by spinal injury. A herniated disc puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica symptoms that include radiating pain throughout the arm or leg, and a weakness, numbness, or tingling in the muscle.

  • Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

    Herniated discs can occur in the lower back, the upper back, or the neck. A herniated disc can also be called a slipped disc, or a ruptured disc, and is often caused by aging and gradual wear and tear on the spinal discs. It can also be the result of a traumatic injury, such as a fall. Treatment for a severe herniated disc may include lumbar spine surgery, thoracic spine surgery, or cervical spine surgery. If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from a herniated disc near Los Angeles , continue reading to learn about the common symptoms of this condition.

    Arm or Leg Pain
    If you have a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, the primary symptom would likely be leg pain. This pain can be

    Herniated Disc Near Los Angeles

    intense, and may spread across your buttocks, thighs, calves, and even part of your feet. A herniated disc in the thoracic spine results in pain that shoots from your shoulder to your arm, and may even spread to your leg if you cough, sneeze, or move your spine in a certain way. A herniated disc in the cervical spine causes neck pain that can radiate to the shoulders and arms.

    Numbness or Tingling
    A herniated disc often affects the surrounding nerves because the disc tissue can press on the spinal nerves at the level of the spine where the herniation occurred. A lumbar spine herniation will cause numbness and tingling in the lower body. A thoracic spine herniation can cause numbness and tingling in the arms, and a cervical spine herniation may cause numbness and tingling in the shoulders and arms.

    Muscle Weakness
    If the disc herniation is large, it will press on the spinal nerves that are on both sides of the body. This will cause noticeable and severe muscle weakness in the extremities. Even in minor cases, the muscles that are served by the nerves affected by herniation can become weak. This may cause you to have trouble walking or lifting and carrying items.

  • What Causes a Herniated Disc?

    A herniated disc, or a slipped or ruptured disc, can occur in any part of the spine. The vertebrae in your spine are protected by spongy discs that allow the spine to be flexible and act as shock absorbers. If a disc is damaged, it may bulge, or even break open. This can result in pain, weakness, and chronic conditions, such as sciatica. If you suspect you may be suffering from a herniated disc near Los Angeles , continue reading.

    Normal Wear and Tear
    The discs in the vertebrae of your spine can lose moisture as you age. This causes them to become less flexible, making you more prone to injury as you go about your normal life. Aging also means that your spine and discs have Herniated Disc Near Los Angeles been subjected to a lengthy period of stress and use throughout your life. This can add up over time and lead to damage to your spine and discs. It is important to have regular checkups as you age, and if you suspect you may need spine care, visit a spine center near you.

    Spinal Injury
    Trauma to the back or spine can cause a herniated disc. If you have fallen, gotten into a car accident, or suffered a blow to the back, pay attention to any pain or discomfort you have after the trauma. Spinal injuries can cause the hard outer layer of a disc to crack or break, causing the gel-like fluid inside the disc to seep out. If you notice pain, numbness, or weakness in your back or limbs after a trauma to your spine, visit a spine center immediately to prevent further injury or damage to your spine.

    Excessive Stress to the Spine
    Lifting a heavy object using improper form can cause injury to the spine; for instance, lifting with your back instead of your legs or twisting to the side while you lift can result in disc herniation. Subjecting your spine to stress over a long period of time can also cause this type of injury.

  • Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports: No. 27 Robert Watkins, Sports Medicine

    The top echelon of sports surgeons may consist of only Dr. Robert Watkins III and Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Watkins is an orthopedic spine surgeon whose practice is in Marina Del Rey. Watkins repaired Peyton Manning’s neck, Dwight Howard’s back and his clients include many other distinguished athletes. Read more about Dr. Watkins in the LA Daily News, Top 50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports: No. 27 Robert Watkins, Sports Medicine .

  • Which Spinal Surgery Is Right For You? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Many spinal problems that cause pain, numbness, weakness, and immobility can be corrected through spine surgery. When you consult a spine surgeon serving Los Angeles , he will be able to recommend the most appropriate surgical procedure for you based on your diagnosis, symptoms, and general health. In many cases, minimally invasive surgery is an option for patients. Minimally invasive procedures offer many benefits over traditional surgery, including less damage to tissues and muscles, less post-operative pain, shortened recovery times, and better outcomes. To learn more about common spine surgeries like discectomy, fusion, disc replacement, laminectomy, and laminoplasty, read this helpful infographic. You’ll also find information about which conditions can be treated through spine surgery, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and pinched nerves. An experienced spine surgeon can determine whether you are a good candidate for any of these surgeries.

    Spine Surgery Infographic

  • What Is a Discectomy?

    Herniated discs cause pain and discomfort. A spinal surgeon can use a discectomy to treat a herniated disc and bring relief to the patient. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure and how it can help:

    The Need for a Discectomy
    This procedure targets herniated discs in the upper (cervical), mid (thoracic), or lower (lumbar) back. It is performed if a patient has a lot of pain or numbness in the legs that might prevent him or her from participating in regular activities, and typically after non-surgical treatments have not decreased the pain. The surgeon will perform a physical exam to see if there is any weakness, decreased range of motion, or uncomfortable feelings that surgery can help. Patients who have

    Discectomy in Los Angeles

    cauda equine syndrome, which prevents control of the bladder and causes new weakness in the legs usually pursue surgery as soon as possible.

    The Discectomy Procedure
    The surgeon will make a small incision over the affected area and move the muscles aside to get a better view of the vertebrae. The surgical team might also take x-rays during the procedure to get a clear view of the herniated disc. The surgeon must also move the nerve roots to get better access to the intervertebral disc. He or she will then remove the ruptured material to get rid of pressure that is causing pain. The surgeon also removes some of the nucleus pulposus material inside the disc to prevent the issue from recurring. Before closing the incision, the surgeon will return the nerves and the muscles to their original location.

    Recovery After the Procedure
    Since this is a surgical procedure, it does require a brief healing period. Soon after your procedure, your physician will likely advise you to walk around or perform other exercises to strengthen your body as it heals.

  • What Causes Herniated Discs?

    Herniated discs cause pain, numbness, or weakness down the neck, the arm, or the hip. Although it most typically affects one side of the body, some people experience symptoms on both sides. The pain could also spread, or radiate, down the leg, which can significantly lower one’s ability to do physical activities.

    This condition happens because the discs lose some of their water content as the body ages. Once this happens, tiny tears in the outer layer of the disc pave the way for the inner protein to make their way out of the bone. Once they are there, they are at risk of herniating or rupturing.

    Check out this video to learn more about herniated discs. If you are experiencing any pain, numbness, or weakness in your neck, back, or limbs you should make an appointment with a spine surgeon in Los Angeles to discuss your treatment options.