What is anterior disc herniation?

Anterior disc herniation is when the center of a spinal disc begins to push out through a tear in the outer layer of the front-facing side, or anterior, of a spinal disc. This can occur when stress is continually applied to the opposite side of the disc allowing pressure to build on the anterior side. Disc herniation is typically related to natural age-related degeneration of the spine, but other contributors include traumatic injury, being overweight and jobs or activities that require repetitive movements.

If you’ve been diagnosed with anterior disc herniation, a great first step in finding relief is to educate yourself as a patient. By having a better understanding of your symptoms and the treatment options, you can work more closely with your doctor to make an informed and confident decision about your care.


When a disc herniates, symptoms can occur both as result of local irritation of the disc, as well as compression of spinal nerves by displaced disc material. An anterior disc herniation may cause a patient to experience the following specific symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Aching
  • Throbbing

The location of a patient’s symptoms will usually depend on where the anterior disc herniation is located along the spine. A herniated disc in the neck can cause symptoms from the head to the fingers, while one occurring in the middle of the back can cause pain throughout the torso and in the ribs. Herniated discs are especially common in the lower back since that region bears the majority of a person’s weight. Disc herniation in this region can cause symptoms to appear in the lower back, buttocks, legs and all the way to the toes.


Many patients receive relief from these symptoms by using hot and cold compresses, resting the back and taking over-the-counter pain medications. Some physicians recommend physical therapy or moderate exercise and may prescribe prescription-strength pain relievers. Patients can also try alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care.

An anterior disc herniation can also be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our treatment methods are usually reserved for patients who have not been able to find lasting relief from conservative treatments. An alternative to traditional open back surgery, Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive procedures use muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a less than 1-inch incision, allowing for a shorter recovery time.^

To learn more about our procedures, facilities and expert medical staff, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We are happy to offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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