Guide to a ruptured disc

A ruptured disc, also known as a herniated, slipped or torn disc, occurs when a disc in the spine is squeezed by surrounding vertebrae to the point that it breaks open and spills fluid into the spinal canal. This relatively common condition typically occurs between the ages of 30 to 50 and can develop for a number of reasons.

When a disc ruptures, it becomes compressed to the breaking point. This is due to the constant strain and pressure developed from the naturally occurring degeneration of the spine. As time goes on, our spines weaken with age or injury, leaving the discs in our spines susceptible to degenerative disc disease and causing the discs to narrow, shrink or become arthritic.

Because a ruptured disc is often indicated by degeneration, the symptoms will progressively worsen over time. By recognizing the symptoms of a ruptured disc early, you can schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss treatments before the condition becomes unbearable. Read the following article to gain a thorough understanding of what a ruptured disc is and the treatment options at your disposal.

What are the symptoms of a ruptured disc?

If the disc material happens to press against the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, the following symptoms may be felt both locally and radiating into the nearest extremity:

  • Pain in the lower extremities
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Cramping or spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sciatica

Depending on where the ruptured disc is located in the spine, the symptoms may radiate to the nearest arm or leg. For example, a damaged disc that pinches a nerve in the upper back may cause pain in the shoulder, arm and hand, as well as in the upper back.

What ruptured disc treatment options does Laser Spine Institute offer?

There are several conservative treatments available for a ruptured disc, including pain medication, rest and physical therapy. If you’ve tried these as well as other treatments and are still living with neck or back pain caused by a ruptured disc, you should contact Laser Spine Institute and find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our minimally invasive surgery has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain through a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Because we use a minimally invasive approach to the spine, which means a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques, our patients experience a shorter recovery time, along with a lower risk of complication and infection^ than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

To treat a ruptured disc, our surgeons will remove the small portion of the disc that is compressing the nerve root (decompression surgery) and causing issues with pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. While many patients may find relief through a decompression surgery, some cases of severe spine damage may require a stabilization procedure, depending on the complexity or instability of the rupture. Through stabilization surgery, we are able to replace the entire disc with an artificial one.

For more information about the advantages of Laser Spine Institute, contact our dedicated team today and ask for your no-cost MRI review.* We can help guide you on your next step to find pain relief.