Causes and treatments for slipped disc pain

A slipped disc is a common name for a bulging or herniated disc, which is a degenerative spine condition that is often caused by the natural aging process of the spine. The term bulging disc describes the condition when a disc becomes compressed between two vertebrae and bulges out into the spinal canal, often impacting a nerve root in the canal. This can result in chronic pain, both local, in the back, and radiating to the extremities as well as numbness, tingling and weakness. Read on to learn more about the causes and treatment options available if you are experiencing slipped disc pain in your spine.

Causes of slipped disc pain

A slipped disc usually develops later in life (after the age of 50) due to the natural aging process of the spine. Because of the degenerative nature of this condition, slipped disc pain commonly develops in the lumbar spine. The spine is divided into three sections — cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) and lumbar (lower back). The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting and stabilizing the weight of the body.

Over time, the vertebrae of the lumbar spine become compressed due to excess weight and years of repetitive motion. Between each set of vertebrae is a round, jellylike disc with a tough exterior. The disc acts as a cushion to evenly space the vertebrae as a way to help support the spine, limit mobility and prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other.

As the vertebrae of the lumbar spine compress, the disc in between the vertebrae is squeezed until it begins to thin and expand beyond its parameter. If the compression continues, the disc exterior may become stressed and crack, leaking jellylike fluid into the spinal canal. The inner disc fluid could impact a spinal nerve root, resulting in radiating pain and disability.

Treatment options for slipped disc pain

You should consult your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and symptoms. If your doctor diagnoses you with a slipped disc, you will likely work together to create a conservative treatment regimen, such as physical therapy, pain medications and chiropractic treatment. Your doctor may recommend seeing if you are a candidate for surgery if the conservative therapies are not effective in reducing your slipped disc pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and have a patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^ Depending on the severity of the slipped disc, we may recommend you to undergo a minimally invasive decompression surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Both types of surgery are performed through a small incision where the surgeon will access the spine without disrupting the surrounding muscles or soft tissue.

Once the spine is accessed, a minimally invasive decompression procedure would require a portion of the slipped disc to be removed in order to release the impacted nerve root in the spinal canal and reduce your pain and symptoms. However, if a minimally invasive stabilization surgery is needed, the surgeon will sometimes remove the entire slipped disc to relieve the nerve root and insert an implant in the empty disc space to immediately stabilize the spine.

Through a no-cost MRI review* of your spine, our team of dedicated surgeons will be able to determine your best surgical option to relieve your debilitating condition. To learn more about the types of minimally invasive procedures we offer to help treat slipped disc pain, contact us today. We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.