Disc extrusion is a degenerative spine condition where the nucleus material of an intervertebral disc seeps into the spinal column and potentially compresses a nerve, causing back or neck pain, among other symptoms. Treatment for this condition is normally first attempted conservatively with a series of noninvasive techniques. In most cases, this course of treatment sufficiently alleviates the patient’s discomfort and surgery is only required in the most severe cases.
As we grow older, the pads that cushion the vertebrae in the spine slowly begin to weaken and become brittle. When this happens, tears can develop in the fibrous walls of the disc, allowing the gel-like nucleus material to extrude into the spinal column. Disc extrusion isn’t symptomatic in itself, but when the ruptured disc material comes into contact with the spinal cord, nerve roots, or other spinal nerves, the patient may experience a variety of symptoms that may vary depending on the specific nerve that is affected. For example, a compressed nerve in the cervical spine in the neck may cause symptoms in the shoulders, arms, or hands, while a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine in the lower back might lead to pain in the buttocks, legs, or feet.
Treatment for disc extrusion requires identifying the exact location of the herniated disc – often with the use of medical imagery, such as an MRI or CT scan. In most cases, a simple herniated disc will respond to conservative treatments that are noninvasive in nature. Some of the most common and effective initial treatments recommended to patients with disc extrusion include:
- Hot or cold compresses
- Low-impact exercises
- Stretching techniques
- Pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxants
- Alternative medicines
- Healthy diet
- And much more
If you do not find the pain relief you require after several weeks of noninvasive treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures may be able to alleviate your painful nerve compression.