Don't DISC-ount your back pain

Talk with your primary care provider to see if back surgery is right for you.

Author: Liz Kovac

If you experience frequent or constant pain, numbness, or weakness in your back or limbs, you may have irregularities with your spinal discs.

"The spine has 23 discs," said Dr. Ryan Barrett, neurosurgeon at McLaren Lapeer Region. "They provide cushion between each vertebrae in your back and neck. When these discs move or undergo any type of change, it can cause pain and other symptoms."

These symptoms can include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • The sensation of pins and needles
  • Sharp, achy, or burning pain

The following disc-related conditions may be causing your back pain.

Herniated disc:

A herniated disc occurs when the soft material inside the disc pushes through a tear in the exterior of the disc, irritating nearby nerves and causing pain.

Severe pinched nerve:

A herniated disc has the potential to not only irritate nearby nerves, but severely pinch them.

Bulging disc:

A bulging disc is a swollen disc that can press on nearby nerves, causing pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease:

Though not an official 'disease', this can occur during the natural aging process where long-term wear to your discs causes you pain.

Spinal Stenosis:

This mostly occurs from old age and is when the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

If back pain is negatively impacting your quality of life, talk with your primary care provider to see if surgery is right for you.

Need a physician referral? Call (810) 667-5714.