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Herniated Disc

What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, refers to a condition involving one of the rubbery cushions, called discs, located between the vertebrae that make up the spine. These discs have a soft, jellylike center called a nucleus, which is enclosed by a tougher, rubbery exterior known as the annulus. When there is a tear in the annulus, it can result in the nucleus pushing out, causing a herniated disc.


What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, but they can also happen in the neck. The symptoms vary depending on the location of the disc and whether it's pressing on a nerve. Herniated discs typically affect one side of the body and often present with specific symptoms, including:

  • Arm or leg pain When the herniated disc is in the lower back, you may experience pain in your lower back, buttocks, thigh, and calf. You might also feel pain in a specific part of your foot. If the disc is in your neck, the most noticeable pain will be in your shoulder and arm. The pain is described as sharp or burning.
  • Numbness or tingling sensations People with this condition may experience radiating numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.
  • Muscle weakness The muscles that are served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This can lead to stumbling or difficulties in lifting or holding items.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional at NeuroSpine Plus for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

What are the causes of a herniated disc?

A herniated disc is associated with the gradual degeneration of spinal discs due to aging and can result in reduced flexibility and increased susceptibility to tears or ruptures with even minor strains or twists. Although the exact cause of disc herniation is often unknown, improper lifting techniques that rely on back muscles rather than leg and thigh muscles, as well as twisting and turning during lifting, can contribute to this condition. In rare cases, a traumatic event such as a fall or a blow to the back may be the underlying cause.

What are the treatments for a herniated disc?

NeuroSpine Plus offers a range of advanced solutions tailored to your specific needs.

  • Medication

    To alleviate pain and inflammation, our providers may recommend anti-inflammatory pain relievers or muscle relaxants.

  • Physical therapy

    Specialized exercise program designed to alleviate nerve pressure, promote muscle relaxation, and enhance circulation.

  • Spinal injections

    Administered by our experienced specialists, spinal injections such as epidurals or nerve blocks deliver targeted steroid medication to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by disc herniation. This promotes faster healing and a quicker return to regular activities.

  • Surgical intervention

    At NeuroSpine Plus, we offer several surgical procedures to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, including:

    • Discectomy: A surgical procedure aimed at removing the damaged herniated disc for lasting relief.
    • Laminectomy: This procedure involves the removal of a portion of the bone around the herniated disc, expanding the spinal canal and relieving nerve compression.
    • Disc replacement: For severe disc damage, NeuroSpine Plus offers artificial disc surgery as an innovative solution to replace the affected disc with an artificial one, restoring spinal function and stability.
    • Spinal fusion: In cases requiring additional stability, our surgeons may perform spinal fusion to directly connect two or more vertebrae, alleviating pressure on the spine.

    Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

Herniated disc FAQ?

While it’s not always possible to completely avoid a herniated disc, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk. At NeuroSpine Plus, we recommend the following:

  • Use proper lifting techniques
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Incorporate stretching breaks
  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Practice good posture
  • Quit smoking

A herniated disc typically improves within 2-12 weeks following injury. In most cases, no surgery for a herniated disc is recommended unless it persists for 3 weeks after the onset of symptoms.

Initially, you can manage pain from a herniated disc at home. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Reach out to your doctor if:

  • Symptoms fail to improve after four to six weeks.
  • You experience loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Pain affects your daily activities, such as attending work.
  • You notice tingling, numbness, or weakness in your arms, hands, legs, or feet.
  • You encounter difficulties with standing or walking.

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