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Herniated Disc Specialist

Jessen Mukalel, MD

Spine, Sports, and Interventional Pain Specialists & Ketamine Infusion Specialist located in The Woodlands, TX

Most people think of a herniated disc as a problem that affects older adults, yet this painful condition most often occurs between the ages of 35-55. If you develop back or neck pain, interventional pain specialist Jessen Mukalel, MD, offers holistic care for a herniated disc, including effective interventional and regenerative therapies. If your symptoms haven’t improved with conservative medical care and you need relief from back or neck pain, call the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or schedule an appointment online today.

Herniated Disc Q & A

What causes a herniated disc?

The discs between the spinal vertebrae consist of a tough outer covering that encloses a gel-like center. This design allows them to cushion spinal movement, absorb shock, and stabilize your spine.

As you get older, however, the discs gradually lose water and start to weaken. When an area in the outer cover gets too weak, the inner gel pushes out through that spot, creating a bulging disc. The problem progresses and turns into a herniated disc when the outer cover ruptures and the inner material leaks out.

What symptoms develop due to a herniated disc?

Symptoms develop when the bulging disc pushes against the nearby nerves or when the ruptured gel irritates the nerves. In both cases, nerve inflammation causes back or neck pain, depending on the location of the herniated disc. If the disc flattens, the spine becomes unstable, causing additional pain and muscle cramps.

Pinched spinal nerves may also cause tingling, numbness, and pain that radiates down your arms and legs. These symptoms require careful evaluation because they mimic other problems like sacroiliac joint pain and piriformis syndrome.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Any time you develop neck or back pain, especially if the pain radiates into your arms or legs, it’s important to schedule an evaluation as soon as possible. When you get treatment earlier rather than later, conservative therapies such as steroid injections are more likely to provide effective pain relief.

After performing a thorough physical exam, Dr. Mukalel may recommend additional testing such as an MRI or electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction study to assess your muscle and nerve function. Then he develops a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapies such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • BurstDR™ spinal cord stimulation
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Platelet-rich plasma or bone marrow aspirate injections

If your pain persists despite treatment, your condition rapidly worsens, or Dr. Mukalel identifies a problem during your examination, he refers you to a trusted spine surgeon so you can consult with them about surgical interventions.

You can get relief from the pain of a herniated disc. To start your treatment, call Jessen Mukalel, MD, or book an appointment online today.