A herniated disc is defined as a disc in which the center gelatinous core has extruded through a tear in the disc’s fibro-elastic containment rim. Most herniated discs remain undiscovered because they generate no symptoms. Symptoms occur only when the extruded core intrudes upon neural tissue.
Herniated Disc Specifics
Intervertebral discs are natural shock absorbers between the boney vertebrae. Discs have two main components, an outer fibro-elastic containment rim and an inner soft gelatinous core. When axial loading pressure occurs along the spinal column, the central gelatinous core of the disc squeezes outward against the fibro-elastic containment rim of the disc. The elastic recoil of the containment wall pushes the gelatinous core back into position, reestablishing the height and shape of the disc. As a person ages, natural daily activity causes repeated loading of the disc. Tiny tears may develop in the fibers of the fibro-elastic outer containment wall. This causes some loss of the disc’s outer containment wall elasticity or recoil. The outer disc containment wall can no longer push the central core material back into shape as effectively. The outer containment wall sags, and is said to bulge or collapse. If a tear in the fibro-elastic rim grows large enough, material from the gelatinous core may extrude through the tear forming a disc herniation. Only if the extruded portions places pressure on an adjacent nerve are symptoms generated. Herniated discs which do not place pressure upon a nearly nerve are most often asymptomatic.
Disc degeneration, one of the main contributing factors in the development of a herniated disc, is a fact of life. One’s susceptibility to this condition can also be affected by obesity or smoking; people who do a great deal of lifting, twisting, or bending also run a higher risk of herniating a disc. Once a diagnosis of such is complete, doctors may prescribe pain medication, heat or cold packs, and lifestyle or activity alterations. Many patients respond well after implementing such conservative treatment plans.
Some people, however, must consider surgery to correct severe or debilitating pain resulting from a herniated disc. This is where Laser Spine Institute (LSI) comes in. We have an award-winning staff of spinal surgeons who are experts in the innovative field of endoscopic laser-assisted spine procedures. We offer a range of outpatient procedures intended to treat spine problems without the risks and drawbacks of less reliable open back surgery. For more information or to set up a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, contact LSI today.