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Published on August 16, 2022

Could a Herniated Disc be Causing Your Back Pain?

Could a Herniated Disc be Causing Your Back Pain?

According to Mark Dumonski, MD, a Greensboro spine surgeon and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental staff who specializes in conditions of the spine, one cause of back and leg pain is a lumbar disc herniation.

“As the discs between the bones in the spine age, a disc fragment can move into the spinal canal and pinch a nerve.” says Dr. Dumonski. “Disc herniations can cause low back pain and shooting, burning pain down one or both legs. Ninety percent of patients with a herniated disc recall a specific ‘trigger’ event, such as being in a car accident or lifting a box.”

Core muscle strengthening and refraining from smoking can decrease your chances of a disc herniation. However, disc herniations are more common with advanced age and in individuals with a family history of disc problems.

Symptoms often improve with rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. If pain continues for more than two to three weeks, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a spine specialist for a work-up and more advanced treatments.

“Your doctor may recommend getting an MRI, an imaging study that helps confirm the diagnosis,” adds Dr. Dumonski. “Additional treatment options often include physical therapy and steroid injections.”

“For the small percentage of patients who continue to have leg pain, numbness or weakness, a minimally-invasive surgery to remove the herniated disc fragment is often the best option,” Dr. Dumonski concludes. “Most patients are pain-free following surgery and back to routine daily activities in about six weeks.”