Herniated Disc

Occurs when a portion of the vertebral disc ruptures and the inner portion of the disc is pushed out into the spinal canal and pressures the nerves.

A herniated disc occurs when a portion of the vertebral disc ruptures. Through the ruptured portion, the inner central portion of the disc (nucleus pulposus) is pushed out into the spinal canal on nerves in the cervical, lumbar thoracic areas.

Due to the spinal canal having limited space if the disc is displaced and causes pressure on the nerve which can often lead to pain and numbness. If the disc is smaller it is sometimes called a protrusion or bulge.

Symptoms of Cervical Herniated Disc:

  • Burning arm pain
  • Shooting pains in one or both arms
  • Discomfort in one of both arms
  • Weakness or numbness in one or both arms

Symptoms of Lumbar Herniated Disc

  • Leg pain is usually worse when sitting
  • Discomfort in leg, ankle, or foot
  • Shooting pain, weakness or numbness in the leg

Causes of Cervical Herniated Disc:

  • Trauma
  • Degeneration due to a normal aging process
  • An episode from heavy lifting

Causes of Lumbar Herniated Disc:

  • Degeneration due to the normal aging process
  • Trauma
  • An episode of heavy lifting
  • Sudden twisting

Herniated Disc Treatments

If your herniated disc back pain is mild to moderate, your physician may advise you to take over the counter medication, such as naproxen (Aleve) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin.) Thereafter, If your pain does not improve from the over the counter medication, your doctor might prescribe narcotics for a short period of time. There are side effects of these drugs and must be taken with caution. If you experience severe side effects from your medications, it is advised to contact your medical care professional immediately. Also, Cortisone injections can be injected directly into the area around the spinal nerves for relief.

Next, Therapy is typically considered if medication does not resolve your pain within a few weeks. A physical therapist is essential to provide guidance for positions and exercises designed to minimize pain from the herniated disc.

After all of the above-mentioned options are exhausted, surgery might be an option for you. If conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms after six weeks, it is normal for your doctor to then recommend surgery, especially if you continue to experience the following: Difficulty standing or walking, Numbness or weakness, Loss of bladder or bowel control.

Microdiscectomy

A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive operation that involves using a surgical microscope and microsurgical techniques to access and treat the spine by removing part of a herniated disc or disc fragments to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord.

Laminectomy

Laminectomy (a Spinal Decompression) is a surgical procedure that removes the back wall of the spinal canal, called lamina, to create more space for the spinal cord, thus relieving pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that helps to relieve pain in the vertebrae (spinal bones) by fusing two or more vertebrae together to reduce motion. This procedure is done through a bone graft or a metal implant.