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Doctor insights on: Can I Die From Herniated Disk If I Ignore It

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Dr. Thomas Dowling
814 doctors shared insights

Bulging Disk (Definition)

Wear and tear can cause degeneration in the vertebral column, and cause discs to deteriorate. The supportive basket, nucleus fibrosis develops small tears. A bulge is minimal perhaps a few millimeters, and is clinically insignificant, but additional disc displacement such as protrusion or herniation may compress ...Read more


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How can I treat a herniated disk?

Depends: Sometimes they are not the cause of a pain as they can be found in people who have no spine problems. For those that it does, most just get better with time. Additional help can be through: activity modification, guided exercise , medication, epidural steroid injections, and if all fails, surgery. Being a smoker, obese and not an exerciser but you at a higher risk of failing treatment. ...Read more

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How can I address a herniated disk?

How can I address a herniated disk?

Time & exercise: A herniated disc does not necessary require treatment. If there is associated nerve root compression/irritation then treatment may be required. Understand that 90% of pain associated with nerve root irritation will resolve with time. Otc prescription nsaids, oral steroids, heat/cold and stretching exercises will help resolve the acute pain. If not then epidural steroids may be beneficial. ...Read more

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What are symptoms of herniated disk?

What are symptoms of herniated disk?

Depends: Believe it or not many herniated discs cause no symptoms at all. If the herniation irritates or compresses a nearby spinal nerve root, people will often report back and leg pain on the side of the herniation. Depending on which disc herniates, the pain can occur on the front, side or back of the thigh and leg and can go down into the foot. Some people will have weakness and numbness. ...Read more

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Can you over-treat a herniated disk?

Can you over-treat a herniated disk?

Yes you can: You can over treat any disease. It all depends what the complains of the patient are. If the pain is very minimal and the person can control it with over the counter medication, every other form of treatment would be considered over treatment. On the other hand, there are forms of disc herniation that fail all conservative measures and need surgery. Every case is unique and requires common sense. ...Read more

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What are the tests for herniated disk?

What are the tests for herniated disk?

The best ...: Most are diagnosed through a clinical evaluation with testing done to confirm the diagnosis as the number of disc herniations found in patients without symptoms increases with age. Knowing that, MRI is probably the best imaging test followed by a ct. A myelogram-ct is excellent as well with a contrast MRI the best test for people with prior back surgery to distinguish post op scar from a disc. ...Read more

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Will a herniated disk go away by itself?

Will a herniated disk go away by itself?

Possibly: If the herniation is acute (just happened) a common course is that these issues resolve on their own within 6-8 weeks. Often physical therapy and anti-inflammatories are important in the healing process. If the pain does not resolve with these conservative measures or is accompanied by lower extremity weakness/numbness you should seek the care of an expert as soon as possible. ...Read more

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How serious is a having a herniated disk?

Depends: It depends on size, amount of inflammation, location (neck, mid back, low back, against spinal cord, against nerve but not cord). Sometimes it keeps nerves or spinal cord from working properly. Other times it causes pain. Sometimes it is silent (no symptoms, problems). Most improve with time. Treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are, whether or not they are worsening, & how long they last. ...Read more

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What do you recommend for herniated disk?

Proper evaluation: This needs an appropriate evaluation. How much damage is it causing. A few need immediate emergency surgery while most need appropriate physical therapy. In some cases injection of corticosteroids in the back in a location called the epidural space between the spinal cord and the vertebrae, this is done to decrease swelling around the disk to decrease pain and let the herniation resolve. ...Read more

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Can I join the navy with a herniated disk?

No: No. "ruptured nucleus pulposus, herniation of intervertebral disk or history of operation for this condition" are all causes for rejection for induction, enlistment or commissioning into all branches of the armed forces. ...Read more

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Dr. Adam Lewis
735 doctors shared insights

Lumbar (Low Back) Herniated Disk (Definition)

Herniated disk is a medical condition in which the gel like disk between the bones of the spine squeezes out of its center position. Because nerves run in the spine right next to the disk, a herniated disk can compress a nerve and cause symptoms such as low back pain, numbness and tingling. ...Read more