A discectomy is a surgery to remove all or part of a herniated disc that is pressing against a nerve root or spinal cord in an effort to protect your spinal column. Spinal discs cushion your spinal bones – more commonly known as vertebrae – and when one herniates – or moves out of place – the pain can be debilitating.
Among others, herniated disc sufferers usually experience these symptoms:
- Chronic Leg pain or numbness.
- Weakness in muscles of your lower leg or buttocks.
- An inability to control bowel movements or urination.
Most people who experience these symptoms do so on a controlled level, often being treated first without surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications [such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)], physical therapy, and exercise are often first treatments. One type of physical therapy is Inversion Table Therapy, a strange-looking but extremely effective way to relieve back pain through decompression, just what you need when a disc is herniated. For exercise, low impact cardio and aerobic workouts are recommended on a frequent basis, and can be performed in the comfort of your own home with the use of Body Sport Exercise Balls, Trampolines for light jogging, and Stepping Machines. Over time, many of the symptoms of low back pain caused by a herniated disc often improve or go away without surgery.
Occasionally, the pain is so severe that even prescription pain medicine cannot subdue it, in which case doctors recommend having surgery immediately. Since the spine carries central nerves and is used in nearly every activity we do, it is crucial not to wait and risk the condition getting worse.
Should it be necessary for a discectomy, a surgeon may perform the disk removal in one of several ways:
- Microdiscectomy – recent scientific advances have allowed surgeons to repair herniated discs without significant direct surgery on the bones, joints, ligaments, or muscles of your spine. Thus, a microdiscectomy is done in a hospital or outpatient surgical centerand can be completed in just a few hours.
- Discectomy - usually performed as part of a larger surgey such as a laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion, a discectomy can be performed from your lumbar spine to cervical spine located in the neck. This type of surgery is invasive, performed at a hospital under general anesthesia, and can take weeks or months to fully heal.
The fortunate fact about a herniated disc is that it is largely avoidable with preventive and safe behavior, such as surrounding yourself with ergonomic furniture and accessories at home or in the office, using lumbar supports, battery powered or manual massager, a soothing muscle rub such as Tiger Balm, and a Far Infrared Back Wrap will alleviate your pain and reduce the risk for injury. It is important to know the details about a surgery as important as a Discectomy, but let us all hope that it is something we do not have to experience first hand.
HealthyBack.com is a specialty retailer that provides high-end comfort solutions and ergonomic products for back pain and other physical conditions. The company offers pain relieving products for sleeping, working, exercising and relaxing including back and neck supports, specialty mattresses, office chairs, exercise and therapy equipment, recliners and massage chairs. Healthy Back sells recognizable name brands such as Herman Miller and Tempur-Pedic, but also represents smaller, specialized manufacturers offering a growing selection of house-branded goods. Healthy Back has 23 stores in 6 states across the United States, and also sells through its website and call center, making it the largest privately owned back care retailer.