Disc protrusion symptoms vary widely, depending on the specific pathology of the disc disorder. Ranging from chronic back pain to numb fingers, the symptoms of disc protrusion are numerous, yet a protruded disc is not symptomatic itself. In fact, an individual usually only becomes aware of a problem after the disc has protruded into the spinal canal and has compressed a nerve root or the spinal cord.
The pliable, shock-absorbent intervertebral discs become protruded when the inner jelly-like substance of the disc pushes against the disc’s weakened outer wall, causing the wall to bulge outward. The disc can bulge straight back toward the spinal cord (central disc protrusion), or it can bulge toward the left or right of the spinal cord (lateral disc protrusion). Either way, the protrusion can compress the spinal cord itself, or it can interfere with one of the many nerve roots branching off the spinal cord.
The severity, duration and location of the disc protrusion symptoms depend on the specific disc that has become weakened and the extent of the nerve compression. Some common disc protrusion symptoms include:
- Radiating or “traveling” pain
- Chronic, local neck or back pain
- Sciatica (in cases of a lower back, or lumbar, disc protrusion)
- Numbness and tingling in the legs or arms
- Muscle weakness
- The sensation of heat or pins and needles
In some cases, patients may not respond to conservative treatment (exercise, stretching, medication, hot/cold compresses, etc.) and surgery is prescribed. It is sensible for a patient to ask his or her physician to determine the least invasive efficacious surgical treatment possible. Please investigate the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, which offers procedures with shorter rehabilitation periods and lower risk than all types of traditional open-spine surgery. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information.