Spine disc protrusion

A spine disc protrusion is a common condition that describes a spinal disc bulging or herniating out of its normal alignment in the spine and into the spinal canal. While a spine disc protrusion can sometimes be caused by a sudden injury or trauma, it is most commonly associated with the natural aging process of the spine.

Over time, the spine begins to wear down as the discs and joints deteriorate with age and years of wear and tear. While this is a natural process, it can sometimes lead to spine conditions, like disc protrusion and other degenerative conditions. The discs in the spine are responsible for cushioning and supporting the vertebrae. As these discs wear down under constant pressure from weight gain and movements, they can bulge or protrude into the spinal canal, possibly impacting a nerve root.

Symptoms of spine disc protrusion

The symptoms of a spine disc protrusion may differ depending on where in the spine this condition develops. Spine disc protrusion can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) or lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine.

In some cases, a spine disc protrusion does not touch a nerve root, which means no symptoms of pain or discomfort are felt. However, if a nearby nerve is pinched, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Limited mobility

These symptoms may appear at the site of the compressed nerve, or they may radiate to other areas of the body, depending on where the spine disc protrusion occurs. Below are examples of the possible areas that can be affected by a spine disc protrusion and nerve compression:

  • Cervical disc protrusion — Symptoms may radiate from neck to shoulders, arms and hands. You may experience pain when moving your head.
  • Thoracic disc protrusion — Pain may feel as if it is surrounding the chest, rib cage and torso.
  • Lumbar disc protrusion — Symptoms can appear in the lower back or area of the tailbone, or may travel from the lower back, down through the legs and feet.

Treatment for spine disc protrusion

For many patients, spine disc protrusion can be treated with conservative therapies, such as pain medication, weight loss and exercise. There are many additional types of nonsurgical treatment, and your doctor can work with you to create a plan to help relieve your pain and symptoms.

However, if these conservative treatments are not effective after several months, you should contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the minimally invasive spine surgery we offer to treat damaged discs and other spine conditions. Our minimally invasive procedures are an alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery. In fact, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication by choosing our minimally invasive spine surgery over traditional open spine surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.