What Is a Herniated Disc?

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

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.”

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 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.

Radio Frequency 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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