Treating Herniated Nucleus Pulposus with Epidural Steroid Injections
Intervertebral discs are cushions between each pair of vertebrae in your spine that provide shock absorption. The outer ring of the disc is made up of strong fibers known as the annular fibers or simply annulus. The middle of the intervertebral disc is known as the nucleus pulposus and is characterized by its soft and gelatinous center and serves as the main source of shock absorption for the adjacent vertebrae. When a tear occurs in the annular ring of the disc, the nucleus pulposus (soft gelatinous center) can protrude out into the spinal canal. This is known as a herniated disc and is a very common and painful disorder. The protrusion typically puts pressure on nerve roots of the spine and in some cases the spinal cord. The affected region of the spine is typically the cervical and lumbar region, although thoracic can occur. At Advanced Pain Management Center, Dr. Fiks utilizes epidural steroid injections to treat the inflammation that occurs with herniated discs.
What causes a Herniated Nucleus Pulposus?
Most herniated discs are caused by repeated wear and tear and trauma. Discs heal from injury by forming scar tissue, which is weaker than normal tissue. A traumatic event such as a fall from a level of elevation can put tremendous pressure onto your vertebrae and discs which can cause a fracture and/or rupture. As people tend to age, the annular rings around their discs wear out, making them more susceptible to rupture from everyday activities that require lifting or bending.
Herniated discs often lead to immense pain that if left unchecked can radiate to other parts of the body. If you have any of the following symptoms contact your doctor immediately.
Once a herniated disc is diagnosed via an MRI, it is up to the physician to decide what the next step is. Typically, physical rehabilitation combined with injections is the first line of treatment after diagnosis. Dr. Fiks works with cases where the patient is experiencing extreme radiculopathy (pain due to compressed or inflamed nerves) and recommends epidural steroid Injections. Epidural steroid injections work by providing powerful anti-inflammatory action in the area, reducing swelling of the nerve and may sometimes lead to the herniated disk reducing in size and even returning to its original anatomical position. This can significantly reduce the amount of pain and allow the patient to increase activities and facilitate rehabilitation.
If you are suffering from a herniated disc, please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Pain Management Center and set up a consultation. To learn more, book an appointment with Advanced Pain Management Center today.