What is a disc herniation?
Disc Herniation is a common condition in which the outer ring of a spinal disc becomes torn and the soft inner portion of the disc begins to bulge out. Similar to a jelly donut that has a soft center and a tougher exterior, a disc becomes herniated when the “jelly” pushes through the tear in the tougher exterior. When this occurs, the vertebrae in your spine lose the rubbery cushions of padding (discs) between the bones. Disc herniation often occurs after an injury. The gradual, age-related wear and tear also known as disc degeneration can also make us susceptible to having disc herniation.
Disc herniation is also referred to as:
- Bulging Disc
- Ruptured Disc
- Slipped Disc
- Prolapsed Disc
Symptoms of a disc herniation vary depending on where the affected disc is located. A herniation can occur anywhere from your lower back (lumbar), middle of the back (thoracic), or up into the neck area (cervical). Some individuals do not notice any pain because the herniation has not reached the point where it is affecting any surrounding nerves.
Common disc herniation symptoms include:
- Arm or leg pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Neck and back pain
Non-surgical treatment options include medications to reduce the inflammation around tissues that are affecting the nerve. Epidural injections can also be considered to reduce inflammation and pain over a longer period of time.
Physical and chiropractic therapy can provide exercises to minimize the pain of a herniated disc and spinal manipulation and massage can be moderately effective in easing chronic back pain that is caused by a herniated disc.
If conservative treatments fail to improve the symptoms, surgery may be recommended. A discectomy is a common surgery for disc herniation and can be completed using 3 different techniques: open, minimally invasive, or using an endoscope. By removing the herniated disc material, the pressure on the affected nerves is reduced, allowing the nerve to heal and typically allowing pain, numbness, or tingling to be relieved.
Herniated discs can cause a lot of pain. But an effective herniated disc treatment plan pursues one goal: reduce your pain and get you back to living a full life. Don’t delay and talk to one of the top spine surgeons today to discuss a custom-made herniated disc treatment plan.