Treatment for slipped disc

If you are seeking help for back pain caused by a “slipped disc,” you are most likely seeking help for a herniated disc. A herniated disc is a condition where a disc develops a tear in its outer wall, affecting mobility and causing mild to severe pain. Many people commonly use the term slipped disc to describe back pain symptoms.

What is a slipped disc?

To understand what a slipped, or herniated, disc is, you have to understand how the intervertebral discs work in your spine. Intervertebral discs are natural shock absorbers between the stacked vertebrae. These discs have two main components, an outer fibro-elastic shell and an inner, gelatinous core.

Our spinal column performs a lot of work each day — helping us sit upright, stand, bend and twist. As we move, a certain amount of pressure is placed on the central gelatinous core of each disc, which in turn squeezes outward against the fibro-elastic containment rim of the disc. The elastic recoil of the containment wall naturally pushes the gelatinous core back into position, reestablishing the height and shape of the disc.

As a person ages, day-to-day wear and tear causes repeated strain on the disc. Small tears can develop in the fibers of the fibro-elastic outer containment wall. This can result in some loss of the disc’s elasticity, or recoil. After years of constant pressure, the exterior wall of each disc is, at times, unable to push the central core material back into shape as effectively. The outer containment wall may sag, collapse or bulge. If a tear in the disc’s containment wall is large, the central core material may extrude into the area outside of the containment rim. When this happens, a herniated (slipped) disc occurs.

What does a slipped disc feel like?

A slipped, or herniated, disc may generate no symptoms at all. Symptoms may only occur if the disc wall becomes irritated or if a nerve is impinged. If you do have symptoms of a slipped disc, you may feel the following:

  • Localized or radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • A “pins-and-needles” sensation
  • Reduction in general mobility

How is a slipped disc treated?

Treatment for a slipped disc usually begins conservatively with rest and physical therapy exercises. Pain medication and steroid injections may also help. If nonsurgical treatment methods fail to reduce your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. To avoid unnecessary risk and destruction of normal tissue, the least invasive and most beneficial, surgical treatment will be recommended.

Minimally invasive stabilization for slipped disc

At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in a variety of minimally invasive stabilization procedures to help stabilize your spine and provide pain relief for slipped, or herniated, disc problems. As an alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery, we offer the following procedures:

  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) — the damaged disc is removed and implants are inserted for stabilization
  • Posterior cervical fusion — fuses two vertebrae together to relieve symptoms of severe herniated discs
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) — the damaged disc is removed and implants are inserted for stabilization
  • Cervical disc replacement — an artificial disc replaces an unhealthy vertebral disc

These procedures are performed as outpatient procedures, using muscle-sparing techniques that spread muscles without cutting. Our minimally invasive procedures carry a reduced risk of infection and other benefits not available with traditional open neck and back surgery.

Here at Laser Spine Institute, you have a number of options available to help you find pain relief so that you can get back to your normal daily activities. Call a member of our Care Team today to learn more about your treatment options for slipped disc, herniated disc and other severe spine conditions.