Disc protrusion types — protruding discs in the primary spinal regions

Educate yourself on disc protrusion types to better understand your spine condition.

There are several types of disc protrusion. One kind of classification refers to the part of the spine where the protrusion is located. Physicians typically use the following names for protruding discs in this system:

  • Lumbar protruding discs, which occur in the lumbar spine in the lower back
  • Thoracic protruding discs, which occur in the thoracic spine in the middle back
  • Cervical protruding discs, which occur in the cervical spine in the neck

Physicians will also note several types of disc protrusion based on how severe the condition is. A mildly protruding disc may barely show up on imaging scans and likely will not cause any symptoms, while a severely protruding disc will be more prominent and likely to cause painful symptoms.

Symptoms and treatment options for disc protrusion

Pain and other symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness related to a protruding disc are typically the result of compression of the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root. The type of disc protrusion affects the location of these symptoms. For example, lumbar protruding discs affect the lower back, hips and legs, while cervical disc protrusions affect the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

If a protruding disc becomes so severe that it causes pain and discomfort, patients can explore several different treatment options. Most of these are conservative in nature; for instance, medications, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections and low-impact exercise can all help minimize symptoms. However, patients with extremely severe disc protrusion may require something more advanced, such as surgery to address the underlying condition.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information

At Laser Spine Institute, we perform several minimally invasive procedures for patients with disc protrusion and other spine conditions. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly skilled surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, allowing for an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication than traditional open spine surgery.^ To learn more, contact our caring and dedicated team today.

We’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.