What does it mean if I have a disc extrusion?

Disc extrusion, also referred to as a ruptured or herniated disc, is a degenerative spine condition that can lead to nerve compression and significant neck pain, back pain and other symptoms. This potentially painful condition is often caused by the natural aging process, although injury and lifestyle factors can also be contributors.

If you suspect you have a disc extrusion or other condition in your spine, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Though the symptoms of this condition may develop slowly, they can worsen over time without treatment. It’s possible to eventually find yourself having difficultly performing your normal activities, such as walking or household chores. Treatment of disc extrusion typically begins with a series of conservative therapies designed to relieve symptoms and improve range of motion while the progress of the condition is monitored over time.

How does disc extrusion develop?

The vertebrae in the spine are cushioned and separated by rubbery discs that consist of a tough, fibrous outer shell and a gel-like inner nucleus material. Over the years, these discs are subjected to a large amount of stress and the walls of the discs can weaken and become brittle. Eventually, tears may develop in the walls of a disc, allowing the nucleus material to extrude into the spinal column, potentially compressing a spinal nerve.

Some of the most common symptoms of disc extrusion and nerve compression include:

  • Stiffness or soreness
  • Pain at the site of nerve compression in the neck or back
  • Unexpected muscle weakness
  • Pain that travels along the compressed nerve
  • A burning or pins-and-needles feeling
  • Numbness or tingling

Treatments

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is possible that disc extrusion causing a pinched spinal nerve is the cause. If a degenerative spine condition like disc extrusion is determined to be causing your pain, your doctor will typically first attempt to manage the symptoms with a series of conservative treatments, such as pain medication, hot or cold compresses, limited rest and low-impact exercise.

If surgery becomes an option after weeks and months of conservative treatment has been exhausted, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery may be able to provide you with the pain relief you need, while offering less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.

Our dedicated team can tell you how to get a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.