Watchers of The View have, no doubt, noticed the absence of Co-Host and Moderator Whoopi Goldberg for the past week. It’s now been revealed that Whoopi’s been in the hospital, being treated for a herniated disc in her back.
Co-Host Nicole Wallace went to visit Whoopi in the hospital and brought back this bit of video:
Whoopi is expected to be back at The View next week.
Between the vertebrae are cushions made of cartilage, called the intervertebral discs, which keep the spine flexible and act as shock absorbers. Strong fibrous tissue, called ligaments and bony protrusions of the vertebrae called facets help stabilize the spine. There is an oval shaped space that continues throughout the spine, called the spinal canal, through which the nerves pass from the brain out to the rest of the body.
The intervertebral discs consist of a thick outer layer of cartilage, the annulus, which surrounds a jelly-like center called the nucleus. A disc is called herniated when the nucleus seeps out and encroaches on the nerves coming out of the space between the vertebrae. Although a herniated or ruptured disc can occur by a single severe trauma, more commonly it occurs as discs get worn over time, causing them to become less springy, and flatter, and to develop small cracks.
Other symptoms include numbness and tingling, or weakness in one leg. Loss of bowel and bladder control can also occur.
Patients may be treated with symptomatic therapy (pain medications, physical therapy) for a prolonged period of time. However, if symptoms are severe or unresponsive to those treatments, surgical intervention maybe appropriate.
There are a variety of surgical options including removal of a small part of the disc and nearby spine (microdiscectomy– the most common surgery for the condition), replacement of the disc, fusion of the spinal bones, and newer techniques such as Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDEE) which involves the use of heat to modify the collagen fibers of the disc and destroy the pain receptors in the area.
Here is a nice video summary of the different types of disc surgeries: