Disc extrusion treatment frequently asked questions

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a disc extrusion, you may be feeling confused, overwhelmed and maybe even a little scared. While all of these feelings are completely normal following the diagnosis of a spine condition, you don’t have to feel this way forever. Educating yourself on your condition and how to combat its effects is a great way to take charge of your spine health and put yourself on the path to achieving a life free from back pain.

Q. What is a disc extrusion?

A. Sometimes called a herniated or ruptured disc, a disc extrusion occurs when the outer layer of a spinal disc (annulus fibrosus) develops a small tear, allowing the disc’s inner material (nucleus pulposus) to seep out of the disc and into the spinal column.

Q. What causes a disc extrusion?

A. Aging is the most common cause of a disc extrusion, as the disc’s annulus fibrosus becomes weaker and more prone to damage over time. Additional factors that can lead to the development of a disc extrusion include anything that causes the various parts of the spine to degenerate at a faster rate, such as traumatic injury, obesity and overexertion.

Q. What are the symptoms?

A. A disc extrusion alone typically only causes localized pain, if any symptoms occur at all. However, if the material from the nucleus pulposus compresses a nearby nerve root, more severe symptoms, including radiating pain, numbness or tingling and muscle weakness, may occur.

Q. What are some common treatments?

A. Treatment for a disc extrusion often consists of a regimen of conservative treatment methods aimed at managing a patient’s symptoms, rather than the condition itself. Some common conservative disc extrusion treatments are pain medication, corticosteroid injections and hot/cold therapy. Additionally, some patients choose to explore alternative methods of treatment, like acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy and herbal supplements, on their own. Though not widely recognized by physicians, many patients have reported significant relief through the use of alternative treatment.

Q. Will I need surgery?

A. Most people only need conservative and/or alternative disc extrusion treatment to effectively control their symptoms. Occasionally, however, a patient’s pain will persist after several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment. In this event, surgery may be the next best option.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive, outpatient procedures as alternatives to traditional open neck or back surgery. Our procedures offer numerous advantages over traditional open spine surgery, including a reduced risk of infection and shorter recovery time.^ To learn more about the advantages of undergoing minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today. Our team will provide you with a review* of your MRI at no cost to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures.