Herniated disc in the back — what does this mean?

A herniated disc in the back is a common spinal condition — there’s a good chance you either know someone affected by it or are living with the condition yourself. While most people have probably heard of a herniated disc, it’s very possible you might not know exactly what the term means, even If you recently have been diagnosed. In this situation, it may prove helpful to learn about a herniated disc in the back and its causes. This information can help you work more closely with your doctor to find effective treatment and ultimately return to normal activity if herniated disc symptoms are putting you on the sidelines of your life.

What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc occurs when the normally tough outer shell of a spinal disc ruptures, allowing the softer, gelatinous inner material to be pushed out into the spinal column. Discs are positioned between the vertebrae and are responsible for absorbing shock and allowing for movement in the neck and back. As weight and movement take their toll on discs over the years, patients become more prone to developing a herniated disc. The lower back in particular is vulnerable to developing the condition, as this area is both highly flexible and responsible for supporting a large amount of upper body weight. For this reason, a herniated disc in the back is more common than a herniated disc in the neck.

A herniated disc does not always cause symptoms, so it’s possible to have this condition without knowing it. However, if herniated disc material puts pressure on a spinal nerve, the following symptoms can result:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramping and muscle spasms

How is it treated?

Most cases of a herniated disc in the back are first treated with conservative options such as medication, physical therapy, massage and chiropractic adjustments. Lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, improving posture and managing weight may also be recommended in some situations.

Laser Spine Institute

In the event that conservative treatments are followed for several weeks or months with little to no pain relief, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages versus traditional open neck or back surgery, including a shorter recovery period for our patients.^

Contact us to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures and to receive a no-cost review of your CT scan or MRI* to determine if you are a potential candidate.

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