• Herniated Disc Treatments

    by Dr. J. Michael Bennett
    on Apr 27th, 2012

Treatments for Herniated Discs in Your Back

This is a transcript of a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on 1560TheGame in Houston, TX. Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Physician serving patients from Katy, Fort Bend County, Metro Houston and Southeast Texas from offices in Sugar Land, TX.  Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.

Our special guest for the show was Dr. Benoy Benny. He is a physical medicine rehabilitation physician, and he is board certified for pain and spine as well as for minimally invasive procedures in spine. He’s also a professor at Baylor College of Medicine.  Also participating is Bob Lewis of 1560TheGame.

Here’s the transcript of the second section of the Show:

LEWIS:  From a layman’s standpoint, at least for me, I have a No. 7 disk down there that I guess is messed up and I do have numbness that’s going down my arm from time to time and sometimes it’s a little shaky.  It’s been diagnosed as a C-7 herniated disk.  I do have some numbness but I’ve never really sought treatment because I thought it would be very invasive to fix it.  Has the technology changed from 20 years ago or even 10 years ago to where you’re not having these big scars down your back?

DR. BENNY:  Thank goodness technology has changed because it’s becoming where if we have to do anything it’s a lot more minimally invasive and that’s that catch term that people like to use.  Just going back to your question, though, there’s many different causes where you can have pain in your neck.  But one of the key things when a patient comes in talking about pain in the neck that’s traveling down the arm is to differentiate what exactly is going on to cause the pain.  It can be a structural abnormality, such as a disc like you were talking about, that’s pushing on a nerve root.  Now the good news that most people around the world do not understand is most disc herniations resolve on their own 80 percent of the time within two to three months.  And that’s great news.  So most of these people who are having pain in their neck shooting down their arm or a pain in their back – they call it the sciatica type pain – shooting down their legs, it will resolve on its own.  But during that time it is painful, it hurts to walk and they can’t do anything.  Now for 20 percent of the people it does not resolve on its own and then it’s time to do more definitive treatment.  And that’s when you don’t want to wait too long.  So if it’s a disc herniation pushing on that nerve, you can actually remove that disc herniation if it doesn’t resolve on its own.  In the meantime, during the first two months, you want to be able to treat the pain, you want to treat the inflammation around there.  We can do minimally invasive guided epidural injections specifically just right around that disc, put all the medication right around that disc area to calm down the nerve.  And a lot of times that’s all you need to do and it will take care of that pain.  Now if it doesn’t get better, there’s minimally invasive percutaneous discectomy, and all that means is basically going through the skin with a needle and going into the disc and removing that disc material without getting a large incision in your back or in your neck.  

BENNETT:  It’s incredible what they’re doing nowadays in regards to spine.  Just for our listeners out there, in regards to the disc itself, think of it almost like a jelly donut.  And outside that donut you’ve got a crust, and when you squash it, this jelly comes out.  That’s the disc material, the inside of the disc, we call it the nucleus pulposus, and it’s the soft material that irritates the nerve that Dr. Benny is talking about and that’s the stuff he’s trying to treat with the injections which make a big difference.  The problem we run into sometimes is when you get pieces of the outside of that disc that impinge the nerve it becomes a little bit more difficult.  

If you’re having a back pain problem and you’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Bennett, please call our office at 281-633-8600.

Author Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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