A herniated disc is a common condition that can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs. The condition occurs when the material in the center of a spinal disc bulges out through a tear in the disc’s outer layer.
If you have a herniated disc, you may be wondering if you should take time off work. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of your symptoms and the type of work you do. This article explains more about herniated discs and whether you should take time off work if you have one.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a common condition that occurs when the gel-like center of a spinal disc slips out of its tough outer layer, called the annulus. This condition can occur in any part of the spine, but it most often affects the lumbar region, or lower back. A herniated disc can be the result of natural aging or activities that cause trauma to the spine, such as lifting heavy objects. It can also be caused by sports injuries and auto accidents.
Once a disc is herniated, it can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the arms or legs. Depending on where the herniation occurs, it can also cause pain or numbness in the buttocks, hips, and calves. Many people with herniated discs also experience difficulty walking, standing, bending, or twisting.
What Are the Treatment Options for a Herniated Disc?
The form of treatment your doctor recommends for your herniated disc will depend on the severity of your symptoms and their location. In general, the goal of treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation, restore function, and alleviate symptoms. The most commonly recommended treatment options for a herniated disc include physical therapy, lower back pain exercises, rest, and pain medication.
For a patient whose symptoms do not respond to these treatments, a discectomy may be recommended. During this surgical procedure, the herniated portion of the disc is removed to alleviate pressure and restore function.
Should You Take Time Off Work if You Have a Herniated Disc?
Whether or not you should take time off work if you have a herniated disc will depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of your symptoms, the sort of work you do, and how well you respond to nonsurgical treatments. If you experience severe pain and worsening symptoms, it may be best to take some time off to rest and recover. Additionally, if your job involves heavy lifting or other strenuous activities, it may be necessary to take some time off to protect your spine and allow for proper healing. On the other hand, if your job primarily involves sedentary work, it may be possible to continue working with some modifications or accommodations.
If your symptoms are mild and you respond well to treatment, you may be able to continue working with minimal disruption. In this case, you may be able to manage your symptoms by taking regular breaks, using proper posture, and refraining from activities that aggravate your condition.
If you have a herniated disc that is not responding to conservative treatment, a discectomy or less invasive microdiscectomy may be discussed and potentially recommended. Although this is generally a very successful procedure, having a large hole in the outer ring of the disc more than doubles the risk of needing another operation. A new treatment, Barricaid, is a bone-anchored device that closes this hole, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital.
If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.
For full benefit/risk information, please visit: https://www.barricaid.com/instructions.