Herniated disc causes and treatments — overview

Being diagnosed with a herniated disc can be alarming, especially if you don’t know much about the condition. As you begin treatment, it may be beneficial to get a better understanding of the underlying causes and the full range of treatments available. While a herniated disc can be disruptive to your life, treatment that can help you return to the people and activities you love is possible, and educating yourself is a great first step in this journey.

Overview and causes of a herniated disc

A herniated disc is when the nucleus of a spinal disc begins to push through a weak point or tear in the tough outer layer. These discs are located between the spinal vertebrae and act as shock absorbers in the neck and back. If the disc’s inner material comes into contact with a spinal nerve, a patient may experience symptoms including pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.

Herniated discs are mainly caused by aging and the pressure placed on the discs by weight and everyday movement. Age-related degeneration makes the discs dry out and lose elasticity, which can cause them to lose their shape and weaken the outer layer. While no one can control the aging process, there are other risk factors and contributors that are more preventable. These include:

  • Trauma from a car accident
  • Jobs that require repetitive bending and lifting
  • Athletic injury from high-impact sports such as football, hockey, and gymnastics
  • Poor posture
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese

Herniated disc treatment

Treatment of a herniated disc is aimed at managing pain and improving mobility through a range of methods. Most physicians begin treating the condition with conservative therapies such as over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold compression and physical therapy. In the event that these and other treatments prove ineffective after several weeks or months, a physician may recommend surgery.

Laser Spine Institute has helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain through the use of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery performed in a hospital, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time.^

Contact us to learn about our procedures and to receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.

Browse Related Resources