Spinal Disc Injury Treatment in Chicago

The spine holds up the body as you move around, and this is enabled by discs found between each vertebra which act as shock absorbers during movement. If one of these intervertebral discs sustains an injury or trauma, either by a rupture, tear or crack, then the surrounding nerves will become compressed. This condition is known as a herniated disc.

Chicago patients with herniated discs usually experience a tingling sensation or numbness, and muscles connected to the affected nerves may be weakened and impair their capability to hold or lift items. You should consult with a Spinal Disc Injury specialist if you experience a tingling sensation, weakness or numbness, or feel pain running through your neck or lower back to your legs or arms.

If you or somebody close to you is experiencing symptoms of a spinal disc injury following a personal injury like slip and fall, auto accident, or work injury, you need to get herniated disc treatment in Chicago right away.

Our experienced Orthopedics at Chicago Personal Injury Centers deliver effective and non-invasive treatment to alleviate your pain. We will assist you in pinpointing the cause of your complication and provide you with the information and tools to live a pain-free lifestyle. Book an appointment with our injury treatment center today by calling (773) 482-5800.

Table of Contents

What is a Spinal Disc Injury?

A spinal disc injury refers to damage, trauma, or degeneration affecting the intervertebral discs, which are soft, cushion-like structures located between the vertebrae of the spine. These discs act as shock absorbers and provide flexibility to the spine, allowing for various movements and maintaining proper alignment. A spinal disc injury can manifest in several ways:

  • Herniated Disc (Bulging Disc or Slipped Disc): This occurs when the soft inner material of the disc protrudes or bulges through a weakened or torn outer layer. It can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Over time, the discs can naturally degenerate due to aging, wear and tear, or other factors. This can result in reduced disc height, less cushioning, and potential pain or discomfort.
  • Disc Tear: A tear in the outer layer of the disc can cause pain and may lead to other disc-related issues.
  • Disc Extrusion or Sequestration: In severe cases, the inner material of the disc can rupture through the outer layer and move into the spinal canal. This can cause significant pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Annular Tear: A tear in the annulus fibrosus (the outer layer of the disc) can cause localized pain and potentially lead to a herniated disc.

Treatment for spinal disc injuries may involve a combination of conservative measures such as rest, physical therapy, pain management, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery to alleviate pressure on the nerves and address the injury. The appropriate treatment approach depends on the type and extent of the injury and is usually determined by a healthcare professional.

What Are Some Factors That May Cause A Spinal Disc Injury?

Several factors can contribute to the development of a spinal disc injury, ranging from acute trauma to long-term wear and tear. Here are some common factors that may cause or increase the risk of a spinal disc injury:

  • Trauma or Injury: Sudden impact or trauma to the spine, often from accidents like slips and falls, car crashes, sports injuries, or other physical injuries, can cause immediate damage to the spinal discs.
  • Improper Lifting Technique: Lifting heavy objects with improper form or technique can strain the back and discs, leading to injury over time. Lifting and twisting simultaneously can also put excessive stress on the discs.
  • Repetitive Strain: Performing repetitive movements, particularly those involving bending, twisting, or heavy lifting, can strain the discs and surrounding structures, eventually leading to injury.
  • Aging and Degeneration: As individuals age, the discs naturally degenerate and lose their water content and elasticity. This degenerative process can weaken the discs, making them more susceptible to injury and herniation.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight places additional stress on the spine and discs, increasing the risk of disc injuries and accelerating the degenerative process.
  • Poor Posture: Prolonged sitting, especially with poor posture, can exert pressure on the spinal discs, contributing to their degeneration and potential injury.
  • Genetic Factors: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to disc degeneration, making them more susceptible to disc injuries at an earlier age.
  • Smoking: Smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs, hindering their ability to heal and increasing the risk of disc degeneration and injury.
  • Occupational Hazards: Certain occupations that involve repetitive bending, heavy lifting, or prolonged sitting can increase the risk of disc injuries in the workplace due to the strain placed on the spine.
  • Weak Core Muscles: Insufficient strength in the core muscles (abdominal and back muscles) can fail to provide adequate support to the spine, increasing the risk of disc injuries.

Understanding these factors and taking appropriate preventive measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, practicing proper lifting techniques, staying physically active, and addressing posture issues, can help reduce the risk of spinal disc injuries. If someone suspects a spinal disc injury, seeking prompt medical attention and adhering to recommended treatments can be crucial for a timely and effective recovery.

Image is of a doctor pointing to the spine on a learning skeleton concept of spinal disc injury treatment in Chicago

How is a Spinal Disc Injury Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of disc injuries is often dependent on an individual’s symptoms, medical history and physical examination. The physical assessment concentrates on the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems. Our physicians will perform standard examinations such as the straight leg raise test to identify a disc injury in your lower back.

Our diagnostic tests will include carrying out X–rays and other imaging tests to determine the full extent of the spinal disc injury. If there is a likelihood of nerve damage, we may perform a nerve test like a nerve conduction study, to establish the seriousness of your injury.

What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Disc Injury?

The symptoms of a spinal disc injury can vary depending on the type, location, and severity of the injury. Common symptoms associated with a spinal disc injury may include:

  • Pain: Pain is often the primary symptom of a spinal disc injury. The pain can be localized at the site of the injury or may radiate to other areas of the body, such as the arms, chest, abdomen, or legs, depending on the level of the spine affected.
  • Numbness and Tingling: Pressure on nerves from a herniated or bulging disc can cause numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the areas supplied by those nerves.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in specific muscle groups may occur, particularly if the nerves controlling those muscles are compressed or irritated due to the disc injury.
  • Changes in Reflexes: Reflexes may be affected, and doctors may observe changes in reflex responses during a physical examination.
  • Radiating Pain: Pain that radiates down an arm (cervical disc injury) or leg (lumbar disc injury) is a common symptom. This is often referred to as radicular pain and follows the path of the affected nerve.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Patients may experience difficulty moving the spine or affected limb due to pain and stiffness.
  • Pain Aggravation with Movement: Pain typically worsens with certain movements, such as bending, twisting, or lifting, which can further aggravate the injury.
  • Difficulty Walking or Balancing: In severe cases, particularly with lumbar disc injuries, individuals may experience difficulty walking, maintaining balance, or coordinating movements.
  • Changes in Bowel or Bladder Function: Severe compression of the spinal cord in the lower back (cauda equina syndrome) can lead to changes in bowel or bladder control, which is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.

It’s important to note that not all spinal disc injuries present with obvious or immediate symptoms. Some individuals may have a herniated or degenerated disc without experiencing noticeable symptoms. If any of the above symptoms occur, especially if they are severe, persistent, or accompanied by changes in bowel or bladder control, seeking medical evaluation and treatment is essential.

Individuals experiencing potential symptoms of a spinal disc injury should consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment.

What Are Some of the Treatment Options for a Spinal Disc Injury?

Our spine injury doctors at Chicago Personal Injury Centers provide a range of treatment alternatives for your herniated disc(s).

To determine the exact type of treatment that is best suited for you, our spine specialists will review your medical history, perform a full physical exam and image scans and examine your spine with the aim of making an accurate diagnosis.

Depending on the diagnosis our specialists make, here are some of the treatment options you may be eligible for:

Chiropractic Manipulation and Adjustments

A bulging disc often causes misalignment of the spine which often results in pain and discomfort in the afflicted area. Depending on your prognosis, our physicians may advice that you get chiropractic care as the best treatment method.

This treatment is non-intrusive and will entail the correction of the slipped disc(s) into position in addition to massaging the afflicted muscles so that your spine is adjusted to its correct position.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

This treatment option for bulging discs will entail attaching electrodes to the part of the spine that is affected. The electrodes work by sending electrical signals which in turn stimulate muscles and nerves in the afflicted part of your body. In the process of sending these electrical pulses, it will relieve soreness, manage pain, increase blood circulation, and enable nutrient circulation which facilitates faster healing.

Electrical muscle stimulation (E-STIM) often has the effect of curbing/lessening symptoms affiliated with a slipped disc like pain and, numbness. What’s more, it also helps your body to heal faster.

Rehabilitation Exercises

Our injury doctors may advice that you get rehabilitation exercises as a method of treating slipped discs. After consulting with our physical therapists, they will tailor exercise routines that are intended to reduce the symptoms that come with a herniated disc. The rehabilitation exercises may entail doing physical exercises, deep tissue massages, and many others.

These exercises are meant to assist you in building up your core strength which is an integral aspect of bolstering spine health, increasing blood circulation, assisting in preventing muscle soreness, improving your posture and preventing you from experiencing further complications.

If you notice any of the telltale signs of a herniated disc, you should think about reaching out and book an examination to establish the extent of your herniated disc. If our spine specialists have diagnosed you with a slipped disc, you can get any of the treatments mentioned above in our Chicago Personal Injury Centers. We are confident of our skills and guarantee that we will identify your issue right away.

Image is of a doctor pointing to an x-ray of a spine, concept of spinal disc injury treatment in Chicago

Consult With Our Spinal Disc Injury Physicians In Chicago Today!

Herniated discs can be a forerunner to a slew of severe medical issues if left to worsen not to mention it can adversely impact your normal way of life. Our injury doctors make a point of remaining up-to-date with the latest and most effective treatment techniques. This means that you can expect a tailored and lasting treatment solution if you are experiencing pain or discomfort from a herniated disc.

What’s more, we understand that suffering a personal injury may not necessarily be your fault and may be a result of a negligent party. We can link you up with seasoned Chicago personal injury attorneys who will take up your claim and ensure you are compensated for your injuries. We will provide the necessary medical documents to use as supporting evidence.

Don’t allow a spinal disc injury to throw a wrench in your way of life. Get the aid you require from our Chicago Personal Injury Centers. Contact us today at (773) 482-5800 to schedule an appointment.

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