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Understanding Your Treatment Options for Persistent Herniated Disc Pain

Mar 02, 2024
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A herniated disc is a common problem that causes acute pain and typically heals on its own fairly quickly. However, sometimes it leads to chronic pain, reducing your quality of life. Find out how to treat long-lasting herniated disc pain here.

Your spine contains a series of bones called vertebrae, each separated by round cushions called discs that act as shock absorbers for your spine. 

When the soft center of a disc pushes out of its tough exterior into your spinal canal, it’s called a herniated disc. Your spinal canal has limited room for all the spinal nerves, so when the herniated disc invades the space, it pushes on these nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. 

Herniated discs often heal on their own, and once the disc is no longer pressing on your nerves, the pain should dissipate. However, in some cases, the pain can linger and become chronic, leading to ongoing pain signals and even emotional distress. 

Because herniated disc pain can cause chronic back pain, our team, led by pain management specialist Don Enty, MD, at Genesis Pain and Regenerative Medicine in Colleyville, Texas, wants you to understand your treatment options for lingering herniated disc pain.

Epidural steroid injections

If your herniated disc is in the lower portion of your spine (herniated lumbar disc), an epidural steroid injection can help reduce pain. During this procedure, Dr. Enty injects a corticosteroid into the epidural space around the nerves in your lower back to reduce inflammation and pain.

These injections may reduce your pain by 50%-83% and lower your chance of needing surgery by 80%

Nerve blocks

A nerve block is a medication injected around the nerve or group of nerves causing pain. Nerve blocks prevent your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain and significantly reduce inflammation to allow your nerves the time they need to heal correctly. 

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation reduces pain by destroying a small portion of the nerve tissue with heat. This procedure keeps your nerve from sending pain signals to your brain. 

Dr. Enty inserts a small needle into the affected nerve and sends radio waves through the needle. The heat from the radio waves creates a lesion, preventing the nerves from being able to send signals. 

Spinal cord stimulation

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that consists of wires (electrodes) and a battery pack (generator). We place the electrodes between your spinal cord and vertebrae and situate the generator under your skin near your abdomen or buttocks. This device lets you send electrical pulses via a remote whenever you feel herniated disc pain. 

The electrical current from the spinal cord stimulator keeps pain signals from reaching your brain, which is especially helpful if you have pain signals that are firing unnecessarily, keeping you in chronic pain.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an injected substance used to promote healing. PRP is made by isolating and concentrating plasma from your blood. Plasma contains many proteins called “growth factors” that promote new cell generation. By injecting PRP into a damaged area, the proteins can encourage your body to make new healthy tissues and promote fast healing. 

For expert pain management care, look no further than our Genesis Pain and Regenerative Medicine team. Schedule an appointment by calling our office or booking online today.