Treating herniated disks, an injury of the spinal chord that can affect the neck or back can be difficult. Herniated disks form because the cushion between the vertebrae of the spine gets pushed too far away from the location it is supposed to be. The cushioning is soft, but like many other parts of the body becomes more rigid and inflexible as we age. Deterioration of this tissue may not be a problem, but too often the spinal cord is too close to the edge of the vertebrae.
Diagnosis of the condition is usually made by an MRI, but symptoms that may indicate this particular problem with the spinal chord are leg pain, the “pins and needles” tingling sensation similar to that experienced when a body part falls a sleep, muscle weakness and bowel or bladder problems.
Treatment for the condition usually progresses carefully starting with a recommended few days of rest and the affected person being given anti-inflammatory drugs to bring down “swelling” in the nerve. Physical therapy may also be recommended, although this does not help the affected region directly. In more extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.
While not typical, surgery may be recommended if there the person with the herniated disk experiences the numbness of tingling sensation or other methods have failed to relieve the symptoms. Traditional methods are just to relieve the symptoms, but a new device may replace tradition surgery and allow the person who undergoes it greater movement of the affected area once again. The Prestige Cervical Disk, a product of Medtronic Sofamar Danic was approved by the FDA for earlier this year and the first patient to get had the device implanted on August 1, 2007.
The device, unlike the traditional procedure replaces the affected vertebrae. If it proves successful, it could replace the roughly 20,000 operations annually to correct herniated disks. While the new device many benefit many patients, it is not recommended for everyone. Smokers and people who suffer from diabetes or who might otherwise have problems healing should avoid the procedure as should patients under 18 years of age as their bone structures are still developing. Other people with herniated disks who may not be candidates for the new device are those who have injuries over several vertebrae, and people who have their mobility limited due to severe arthritis or other conditions.
“New Artificial Disk may Offer Real Relief.” Fred Tasker. Tuesday, August 21, 2007. Tuesday, August 21, 2007. The Daily Item. Sunbury, PA