12/18/12

Herniated Disc: When Is Surgery Needed?

What is the point at which it’s time to seriously consider surgery to remedy a herniated disc in the low back?

For this article I consulted with Dr. P. Justin Tortolani, from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Tortolani is an orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist.

He explains: “Surgery would be indicated for lumbar herniated disc when a patient is noticing a progressive loss of strength in the leg; we term that partial paralysis. Another indication is when there is pain that is not retractable; when nothing tried is helping.”

This would include a failure of “steroid injection, acupuncture and just the tincture of time,” says Dr. Tortolani.

A herniated disc can cause shooting, stabbing but brief episodes of pain that can literally stop a person in their tracks. There may be numbness and tingling. Sitting in the same position for long periods, with pressure on the hamstring (back of the upper leg) can bring on numbness and tingling. This may often occur as a result of sitting on a toilet seat for an extended period.

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