Definition, symptoms and treatments for torn discs

A torn disc is a common degenerative spine condition that is also known as a ruptured, herniated or slipped disc. Those with a friend or loved one who has experienced a torn disc are probably familiar with the pain and discomfort but may be looking to learn more about this debilitating condition. If you would like an overview of the causes and proper treatments for torn discs, read the following article.

Definition and symptoms of torn discs

In order to understand a torn disc, it can help to have a breakdown of what a spinal disc is. The spine is made up of a long column of bones called vertebrae. In between each pair of these bones are soft, spongy discs. These discs help to establish appropriate space between the vertebrae, providing cushioning for the spine as we bend, sit, stand and walk.

The definition of a torn disc is the disruption of the tough outer layer of the disc, known as the annulus fibrosus. Torn discs can sometimes become symptomatic, especially if the jellylike interior of a disc, called the nucleus pulposus, leaks through the tear and enters into the spinal canal. Symptoms may include either dull or sharp pain, tingling, cramping and muscle weakness in the neck, back and/or extremities, depending on the severity and location of the tear.

Treatments of torn discs

Many torn discs can be successfully treated through conservative methods. This treatment commonly includes one or more of the following treatments:

  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Heat massage
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Epidural steroids
  • Lifestyle changes

Surgery may be recommended if weeks or months of physician prescribed treatment methods do not result in pain relief. Traditional open spine surgery used to be the only surgical option and usually involved a lengthy recovery period due to the large incisions and muscle severing involved. However, Lasers Spine Institute offers muscle-sparing procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery.^

If you are concerned about the lengthy recovery times and risks that are often associated with open back surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive outpatient procedures may be able to help you get your life back. We offer both decompression and stabilization surgeries that have helped treat torn discs without the highly invasive nature and lengthy recoveries of traditional open spine surgery. ^

Ask for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.