What Is a Herniated Disc?

Learn about the symptoms and treatment options for a herniated disc.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Spinal disk are soft cushioning like this that separate the bones that make up the spine. They act as shock absorbers allowing the spine to flex, bend, and twist. They are made up of two parts-- a very firm outer shell and a very soft intersection. A disk is herniated when the outer shell breaks and the inner core leaks out. As hard as it may be to believe, there are many instances when a disk is herniated and there are no symptoms at all. The inner core leaks out but it doesn't interfere with any of the nerves in and around the spine. However, when the inner core does push up against a nerve, it can be extremely painful. Symptoms of a herniated disk range from mild numbness and tingling to sharp shooting, stabbing pain such as the sciatic pain radicular pain. The treatment for discontinuations are-- conservative treatments, physical therapy, ice, eat, analgesics such as Tylenol, anti-inflammatories, Motrin, and occasionally patients who come to epidural injections with steroids. And if this doesn't work, they also may be a candidate for surgical intervention to relieve the pressure from the disk herniation. [MUSIC PLAYING]

A herniated disc is a spine condition where the gel-like material in the disc leaks out. It is also referred to as a “slipped disc” or a “ruptured disc.”

What You May Be Feeling

Shooting Pain

Shooting Pains

Leg Weakness

Leg Weakness

Pain In Extremities

Pain In Extremities

Leg Numbness

Leg Numbness

Tingling

Tingling

Isolated Pain One Side

Isolated Pain One Side

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

The primary symptom of a herniated disc is pain. A herniated disc generally starts in the lower back or neck and may spread to the buttocks and thighs, shoulders and arms. A herniated disc may cause symptoms such as:

 

  • Numbness and/or tingling in the arms and legs
  • Pain that is worse when sitting, or when bending, twisting, or lifting
  • Pain that radiates to the neck, arms, or hands pain that is worse when standing but better when walking or running
  • Severe pain that comes and goes over a period of a few days to a few months

Potential Thinning Disc Treatment Options

DISC REPLACEMENT

When the disc compresses the spinal cord or nerve root, replacement can be an option. The disc is replaced with an artificial disc to decompress the nerve/cord and preserve motion at the disc space.

Anterior Cervical Disc Fusion (ACDF)

During an ACDF, the damaged disc in the neck is removed, relieving pain and pressure. Then a reinforced implant takes its place, providing the repair.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Also known as an RFA, this procedure uses high-energy radio frequency to ablate (or remove/vaporize) the troubled nerve, essentially eliminating the sensation of pain.

LUMBAR FUSION

During a lumbar fusion the damaged disc is removed from the lower back (lumbar spine), and the two vertebrae are fused together with a reinforced implant to create support.

LAMINECTOMY

A laminectomy is a very common procedure that removes a portion of what is known as the lamina (which is the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal) in order to create space in the area affected by the herniated disc.

LAMINOTOMY

A laminotomy is a spinal decompression surgery where only a very small portion of the lamina is removed to take pressure off the nerves and spinal cord for pain relief.

Things You Can Do at Home to Relieve Symptoms

  • NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Narcotics for more severe pain
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Cortisone injections
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We're sorry to interrupt, but we know a fear of surgery can hold some people back. 70% of the patients who come to BioSpine are sucessfully treated without surgery. The first step is understanding what is casuing your pain - take that step and schedule a consultation. It's that easy.
We're sorry to interrupt, but we know a fear of surgery can hold some people back. 70% of the patients who come to BioSpine are sucessfully treated without surgery. The first step is understanding what is casuing your pain - take that step and schedule a consultation. It's that easy.
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